Pam Bondi Wants Florida Supreme Court to Decide Issue of Same-Sex Marriage

Categories: LGBT News

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On Monday night, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a motion to the Third District Court of Appeal that the consolidated Pareto-Huntsman case, which deals with the topic of same-sex marriage, should be given a pass-through -- meaning it would skip the appeals court and go straight to the Florida Supreme Court.

Bondi once urged the Third District Court to deny the case a pass-through until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the matter of same-sex marriage. However, she changed her stance in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's (SCOTUS) decision last Monday to not hear any of the appeals against same-sex marriage.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

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Same-Sex Couple Send Rick Scott Heartfelt Letter Pleading to Hear Their Story

Categories: LGBT News
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photo: Monica McGivern
With same-sex marriage on the brink of being legalized in Florida or getting forever mired in litigation, advocates and gay rights groups have been using news releases and the media to call on Gov. Rick Scott to lift the ban.

But now one same-sex couple is going directly to the governor in the form of a heartfelt letter pleading for him to meet with them and others like them, as well as their families, to hear their stories.

The letter, which has been sent to Scott's office, was penned by Terry and Sharon Kant-Raunch, but they're backed by hundreds of couples requesting the meeting.

See also: Same-Sex Couples Deliver Petitions to Pam Bondi's Office

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Pam Bondi and Rick Scott Refuse to Lift Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, Despite SCOTUS Ruling

Categories: LGBT News

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Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject same-sex marriage appeals in several states earlier this week -- opening the door to lifting the ban in a total of 30 states -- the attorney general and Gov. Rick Scott are still sticking to their guns in trying to keep same-sex marriage banned in Florida.

Gay rights activist groups pounced on Bondi and Scott following the ruling, calling for them to cut out their political shenanigans and get with the times.

But Bondi's office has come out and said it will continue to fight against having the ban lifted, while Scott has remained silent on the issue.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

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Florida Recognizes Deceased Woman's Same-Sex Marriage

Categories: LGBT News

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In August, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled on Grimsley and Albu v. Scott that Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional and, despite a stay on his ruling, ordered the State of Florida to issue a new death certificate for Carol Goldwasser, naming Arlene Goldberg, her partner of 47 years, as her wife.

Today, Arlene received that newly issued death certificate, making her and her late spouse among the first same-sex couples to have their marriage recognized in Florida and the first to receive an amended death certificate that reflects their marriage.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?


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Gay Wedding Commercial for Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Needs Extras

Categories: LGBT News

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Photo by Phillip Pessar via Miami New Times Flickr group

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is calling on anyone from all ages and backgrounds to come out and be extras as pretend guests at a pretend gay marriage on the beach.

Shooting starts at 9 a.m. Thursday.

See also: Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Supports Marriage Equality

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Marriage Equality in Florida: The Various Ways It Could Play Out

Categories: LGBT News

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Photo by George Martinez
Yesterday, the nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declined to hear any of the federal cases pending before them regarding state bans on same-sex marriage. By not taking up the cases, SCOTUS allows the lower district court decisions to stand, meaning same-sex couples in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana will soon be able to marry. This development also means any other state with similar bans in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits will soon have marriage equality as well. These states include West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Though this action by SCOTUS will impact thousands of couples across the U.S., it does not have a direct effect on Florida's ban because the state is part of the 11th Federal Circuit.

The constitutionality of gay marriage in Florida is still winding its way through the courts. Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, could drop the fight and let gay marriages proceed, or she could continue the fight until it is resolved in federal appeals courts. Bondi has said she continues to fight not because of her personal viewpoint but because gay marriage is prohibited by the state constitution --- in just 2008, 62 percent of voters chose to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

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Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

Categories: LGBT News

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On Monday, the United States Supreme Court rejected five states looking to keep same-sex marriages illegal, which means Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin can immediately join the other states that recognize same-sex unions.

Moreover, same-sex couples living in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming will also soon be able to get married, since those states were bound by the same appellate rulings.

And then there's Florida.

In the past year, five Florida judges have ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in the state is unconstitutional. Yet State Attorney General Pam Bondi has stepped in to appeal and keep same-sex marriage illegal in Florida in each case.

So what does the latest Supreme Court ruling for those five states mean for Florida?


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Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Supports Marriage Equality

Categories: LGBT News

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Last week, the Board of Directors for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce voted to approve a resolution in support of marriage equality. The chamber, the largest organization of companies in Broward County, with more than 1,400 member businesses, has chosen to support same-sex marriage as a way to attract gay-friendly companies to South Florida.

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South Florida Lesbians Challenge Gay Marriage Law: "We Are Not Second-Class Citizens"

Categories: LGBT News

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Photo by Phillip Pessar via Miami New Times Flickr group
In 2002, Heather Brassner, a Palm Beach County art dealer, and her then-partner, Megan Lade, were joined together in a civil union in Vermont. Though they were initially committed to each other, the relationship fell apart about four years ago, when Lade allegedly cheated on Brassner and ran off with a man.

"My ex cheated on me four years ago and then disappeared with the person she was cheating with," Brassner says.

Because in 2008, Florida voters amended the constitution to recognize only heterosexual marriage, Brassner was caught in legal limbo and was unable to get her civil union annulled.

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Boynton Beach Mayor Cites Dictionary's Definition of Marriage as Reason to Vote Against Gay Rights

Categories: LGBT News

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After receiving a report on workplace equality from the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council back in July, on Tuesday evening the Boynton Beach City Commission agreed to give benefits to employees with domestic partners or same-sex spouses. Boynton Beach Mayor Jerry Taylor, however, cast the one dissenting vote, expressing that the way the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines marriage is not in accordance with gay marriage and, therefore, they should not be awarded the same benefits as those who are in straight marriages.

Still, the vote -- which ended in 4-1 -- means that those in domestic relationships will be offered the same family benefits currently offered to municipal employees whose marriages are recognized by the state.

Benefits include medical, dental, and life insurance as well as giving the employees family sick leave, bereavement leave, and family medical leave.

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