The Supreme Court on Friday decided
against blocking the ruling that struck down Florida's ban on gay
marriage from taking effect.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on
Monday turned to the nation's highest court after a federal appeals
court refused her request to stay the ruling.
“The application for stay presented
to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the
Supreme Court wrote.
As has been the case in similar cases,
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, considered the court's
most conservative members, went on record as saying that they would
have granted the stay.
“We are thrilled the U.S. Supreme
Court has denied the State's request to delay marriages in Florida,”
Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBT
rights advocate, said in an emailed statement. “Every day of delay
is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and
committed same-sex couples in Florida. It's time to break out the
wedding bells! We look forward to January 6th being a special day –
Florida is ready for the freedom to marry.”
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of
Tallahassee declared Florida's ban invalid on Thursday, August 21,
but stayed his order pending an appeal. On November 5, he ordered
Florida officials to begin issuing marriage licenses and recognizing
the out-of-state marriages of gay couples starting on January 6.
In applying for an emergency stay,
Bondi argued that gay couples would only be allowed to marry in the
one county named in the lawsuit, which would lead to confusion.
The Florida Association of Court Clerks
and Comptrollers issued a statement on Tuesday backing Bondi's claim.
It also warned clerks that the issuance of an improper marriage
license is a misdemeanor offense.
Lawyers representing the plaintiffs
have denied the claim, saying that Hinkle's ruling applies statewide.