On the surface, it seems like just one more piece of really good news. On Friday night, the Supreme Court refused to stop marriage equality in Florida, which means that weddings can start on Jan. 6. That’s a big deal for a lot of reasons: Florida is one of the most populous states without marriage equality, same-sex marriage is now officially in place in the South (following the Carolinas, and the inevitability of marriage equality is now stronger than ever. It’s also a thumb in the eye for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the thrice-married Republican who has made a career out of blocking marriage equality (and concomitantly making incredibly dopey statements).
But the ruling goes far beyond Florida. The Supreme Court just essentially signaled that marriage equality is a settled issue.
In this case, at issue before the court was a request to put a hold on the awesome ruling by Judge Robert Hinkle that struck down Florida’s marriage ban. Usually, such requests are submitted to the Supreme Court justice responsible for the region. This time, however, the entire court considered the request for a stay. And in a telling action, only two justices–Antonin Scalia (of course) and Clarence Thomas–would have taken the request.
That means seven justices let marriage equality take effect in Florida, including two–Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito–who dissented from the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Roberts and Alito saw the request as a narrow legal issue that the Court had no reason to get involved with. But in general they’re not especially willing to place legal reasoning above political ideology. Apparently, they don’t object to marriage equality on legal principle, or at least not enough to try to stop it in its tracks. If they wanted to take a stand, this would have been the chance. Instead, they took a pass.
Which is a pretty strong signal that the majority feels that the issue is largely settled. Because there are conflicting rulings, the Court will have to weigh in on the issue at some point. They have a chance to take it up again next month, having punted earlier this fall.
But there can be little doubt what the ultimate ruling will be, particularly after the Florida ruling. There are only 14 states remaining now that ban marriage equality (although marriage is on hold in six states due to appeals). By the time the Supreme Court finally weighs in, it will be anti-climactic.
Even Pam Bondi knows when she’s defeated. In a statement she said she won’t try to stop marriages from starting. Heaven knows, she’s started a few of her own already.
B(l)ondi is a twit’s twit! She HAD to know this was coming. Congrats to all the soon-to-be married GLBT Floridians! What a start to the New Year!
This article is full of half-truths. ALL of the requests for stays that have been brought to the Supreme Court have been referred to the whole court by the Justice who oversees the circuit, not just this one. And Scalia and Thomas have indicated on the previous two stay requests that they would have granted the stay, just like they have here. That does not mean that Roberts and Alito would not have allowed the stay; it only means that, unlike Scalia and Thomas, they were not childish enough to actually voice their opposition on the motion. They may very well have voted to keep the stay; it only takes five Justices to refuse the motion. But nothing says they have to say how they VOTED on the motion. Scalia and Thomas did because they are petulant assholes.
The Supremes didn’t grant the stay on this case because they already have a negative circuit court decision on marriage: from the 6th. That was all they were waiting for to take up the issue once and for all. As long as all the circuit courts were unanimous in affirming same-sex marriage, the Supremes didn’t feel the need to intervene. Now that the 6th has voted “no”, they have a legitimate conflict to resolve. At this point, it doesn’t matter how Florida’s 11th circuit rules, as far as the Supreme Court is concerned. That is why they’re letting the federal court decision in Florida stand for now.
This decision by the court in no way means that same-sex marriage is “assured”. It only means the Supremes feel they have no interest in preventing the lower court’s ruling from being put into place at this time. As far as marriage equality nation-wide goes, we’re still in the same position we were before the Florida decision: waiting for the Supremes to decide on a case to take up and settle the issue once and for all. Given the way things have played out, there’s no reason to believe the final verdict will be anything but a 5-4 decision in favor of equality, but that is by no means a certainty.
Congratulations Floridians and the soon to be rest of the USA, You waited a long time for this, On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world, and the first country outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition.
So much for the bible thumpers and their “good” book, not only does the “good” book say we are an abomination but that we need to be killed, the blood is on us. What a nasty book totting its hate, like the last desperate fart of a rotting corpse.
Suck it, Tony Perkins. We win.
Alan down in Florida
Too bad all of my friends went out of town to put rings on it already. Too bad my boo’s wife has his ring on her finger.
And SCOTUS continues to be consistent in supporting marriage equality and likely will overturn the 6th Circuit Courts decision against marriage equality which was based on “Traditional” marriage which is not a valid reason.
I have said for several months that when (not if) marriage equality reaches the court the final ruling stands a very good chance of a 7-2 favorable vote. Others feel strongly that it will be 5-4 (which I think is totally unlikely) or 6-3 (with Roberts siding with the minority). However, personally I thinks Roberts is more concerned about his legacy then to side with minority on the biggest issue facing the court since he became Chief Justice. While there have been other issues in from the the Robert’s court of major importance not have resonated as broadly as marriage equality -Citizens United, Hobby Lobby and even the ACA (Obamacare) have been newsworthy decisions but the majority of the populace haven’t a clue what those cases were actually about. With Marriage equality most everyone, on both sides of the issue, know exactly what the court will be deciding and the outcome will truly cast the legacy of the justices making the ruling (both pro and con). I only see Thomas and Scalia dissenting with Scalia writing possibly the most scathing dissent of the last 50 or so years. It will be interesting to watch the course that is taken and see what the final tally actually is.
@Alton: I agree almost exactly with what Alton said. These statements that FL was denied 7-2 go back to the ACLU attorney in the news conference who said that. I’m guessing he “thought” it was true not that someone “told him so”. In other words, in the excitement of the moment, he READ INTO THE RULING. Nobody said this when after KS and SC were denied stays, and Thom-alia and Scaly-Ass started announcing their dissents, that we’d gotten 7. Nobody thought that when ID and AK were denied stays with NO dissent that we’d gotten 9-0. We don’t even know which [at least] FIVE Justices voted to deny. We might assume the Windsor 5, long may they reign. Nobody said back when the Supremes weighed in on UT that we’d LOST 9-0 either. Administrative rulings, while done by a vote, are normally NOT published including those in agreement or dissent. The Bobsey Twins of Petulance are saying “Don’t blame us. We’d have held up those people’s rights.”
I slighty disagree w/ Alton in that I don’t believe the Windsor 5 would be doing this for any other reason than to continue to signal their thinking on this issue. The release of the 5 cases in 3 circuits on the 6th of October and their response to the requests for stays by ID, AK, AZ, MT, KS, SC are all pretty indicative that they are ready to rule and see no reason for people to have to wait even one day longer than necessary. RBG said there was “no rush” but she also referred distastefully to “skim milk marriages” so you know that she despises that we’re treated differently, still, yet and daily, on this as on so many other things. It would simply be cruel to allow marriages to take place and NOT know that they’d continue to be recognized. That’s why they stayed UT and the others. Once they released those 5 cases in Oct, and remember, it takes only FOUR Justices to grant Cert, not FIVE, then they knew that it was a done deal, either Circuit by Circuit if they all overturned the bans or if one upheld [stupid 6th, thanks Jeffrey] they’d rule nationwide. But they WANT this to be argued and proceed at a more measured pace. Part of that is to keep adding new states where marriages happen and the sky doesn’t fall. We’ll have a ruling in 6 months and 9 days, but we could have TX, MS, AR, MO [w/o those nasty stipes] and PR before then. The VI might just cave. TX is really no different than FL in where they are at. The attys should be asking for a release of stay from who ever granted it and if denied, work up the chain to the Supremes. Worth the effort and they’ll be compensated for the costs since they won at the District Court level.
And it would such a NICE holiday present for Guv-elect Abbott. I hate to beat on a guy in a wheelchair, but he beats on us so he’s fair game. I want more sadz.
@Alan down in Florida: Your boo’s wife?
@Alton: you’re right. The author here is completely over-reading this denial of a stay. 12/23 should tell us if the 6th circuit cases will make it to the 1/9 conference, which if they make it to conference, will almost certainly be granted certiorari.
Interesting, and I know I may be in the minority on this, but I think when Sutton (and I am by no means a Sutton fan) wrote the 6th Circuit opinion, he was backing SCOTUS into the corner this term deliberately, and I think of it is 5-4, which would most likely means Kennedy would write the opinion, Sutton has backed him into a corner of having to apply heightened scrutiny to sexual orientation.
I am also going to go out on limb here and say that SCOTUS’ final vote will be 6-3, with Roberts siding with the majority. If you will recall, he wrote a separate dissent in Windsor and only joined Scalia’s dissent in part, and he saw Windsor as having a standing issue because there was no conflict anymore since the DOJ had conceded that DOMA was unconstitutional already and that the 2nd circuit got it right; he also noted that making it a federalism issue, which is what the states have been using to mount their ridiculous defenses, was a mistake. I also think that since he specifically invited his lesbian cousin to the gallery for the arguments, there maybe some indication that he would lead toward a ruling of unconstitutionality under 14’s due process and equal protection guarantees. Mark my words: 6-3 in favor of Equality and the Chief will write it, applying intermediate scrutiny to sexual orientation.
At this point, I, The Democratic Party and probably most of the free world PRAY THAT MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS FINALLY NATIONWIDE. Because, only then will these stupid gay marriage fucks crawl back under the rocks from which they came, ALL 200,000 of them. Until Gay Marriage is nationwide, THE WORLD IS AT RISK of Tired Ass White Queens helping to put another George Bush in the White House.
England, according to lore, sacrificed more people to German Bombings than have married someone of the same sex in America.
If there is ONE THING THAT COULD BOMB THE CHANCES OF NATIONWIDE MARRIAGE EQUALITY it is THE FACT that the issue bears every indication of being A FABRICATED CAUSE:
AFER and Chad Griffin made no secret of the FACT that the plaintiff in their Prop 8 case were recruited.
When the charge is made that gay marriage is a fabricated cause NO ONE CAN POINT TO A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF GAY PEOPLE who have married or who have the slightest interest in marrying.
While it should be that only one aggrieved gay couple can sue and win the right to marry. That aggrieved gay couple TAINT THEIR CAUSE when they are recruited by some bald fat fuck trying to use GAY to raise his political profile.
The Legal Arguments that can bomb marriage equality before The Supreme Court relate to the appellants having unclean hands if they were recruited by third parties as part of a campaign to make GAY MARRIAGE an issue in national politics.
Search the legal terms:
FRAUD ON THE COURT,
Again, it can’t be dismissed that the supreme court declined AFER’s appeal because AFER’s bragged about recruiting its plaintiffs.
And, ask yourself this: “Why have these allegedly anti-gay marriage forces never raised these points? ANSWER: It’s because ANTI-GAY forces want gay fucking marriage in the news.
Ummm, there is also the “fact” that I have filed briefs with the Supreme Court before
“By the time the Supreme Court finally weighs in, it will be anti-climactic.”
You have got to be kidding me. One of the dumbest things I’ve seen written about this subject – anywhere… So flippant. This article is CLEARLY not written by someone like my partner and myself who have been waiting 25 years to get married in Michigan or our thousands of other couples across the country to whom this ruling TRULY matters. When SCOTUS makes a ruling that allows same sex marriage across the US, there will be plenty of climaxing. Try planning a legal wedding on your upcoming 25th anniversary (7/6/15) around a ruling on a case that hasn’t been accepted to be heard. Not. Gonna. Happen. We are not alone – trust me when I say that there will be A FUCK OF A LOT of rejoicing, jumping up and down and uber-climactic behavior when it’s done. There are the adoptions of children hinging upon this ruling as well – I can guarantee you that the couple whose case is the basis of the Michigan side of the appeal, will be screaming from the rooftops that they can finally and legally be parents of their children. “Anti-climactic” my ass.
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