Florida officials on Thursday appealed
a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on gay
Attorney General Pam Bondi's office
filed a notice of appeal on behalf of Surgeon General Dr. John H.
Armstrong, Secretary of Management Services Craig J. Nichols and
Washington County Clerk of Court Harold Bazzell.
The state's 2008 voter-approved
constitutional amendment excluding gay and lesbian couples from
marriage was struck down late last month by U.S. District Judge
Robert L. Hinkle. Hinkle said the ban violates the 14th
Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process.
While Hinkle's decision was the first
to affect the entire state, it arrived after state judges in four
counties reached similar conclusions.
Daniel Tilley, an attorney with the
ACLU of Florida, which is representing a portion of the plaintiffs,
responded to the notice of appeal in a statement.
“We are very disappointed that
Governor Scott has taken this affirmative step to keep in place laws
that he knows cause substantial, concrete harms to families across
Florida,” Tilley said. “He has the power to end this now, yet he
has chosen to perpetuate the second-class status of lesbian and gay
couples. State officials are only delaying the day when all Florida
families are given the respect, dignity and responsibility that come
with marriage. We will not rest until the marriages of all of
Florida's loving couples are recognized.”