Multiple judges in Florida have been among the latest to overturn a state-wide ban on gay marriage. “U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled on Aug. 21 that the ban violates the 14th Amendments guarantees of equal protection and due process,” The Associated Press reported Friday. Four other counties — Monroe, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade — have also ruled in favor of same sex marriages. Not all Florida officials are happy about the new motions legalizing gay marriage, however.
According to lawmaker and Florida Legal Attorney General Pam Bondi, the U.S. Supreme Court has not clearly stated whether state courts can make rulings about the constitutionality of (or lack of constitutionality of) gay marriages. Looking to The Supreme Court is more than reasonable. Supreme Court justices, like U.S. Court of Appeals attorneys, go through a rigorous process just to be appointed. The U.S. president must nominate them first, and then the nomination is approved or rejected by the United States Senate. Ultimately, citizens and legislators alike value their authority and opinions on contentious issues.
Of course, Bondi and a team of federal appeals attorneys are also arguing for another slant on the issue — stating that, on a state-level, any final decisions about the constitutionality of the former ban on gay marriage should come from Florida voters.
Same sex couples and supporters rejoicing over the new rulings don’t have to worry just yet. The Supreme Court generally has 90 days to review a case — and agree to escalate it or not. Thus far, the Florida Supreme Court has not approved Bondi’s request. The Supreme Court plans to leave it in the hands of smaller Florida courts for the foreseeable future. Hinkle did, however, leave Bondi, top appeal attorneys, and appeal law firms plenty of time to make their case — and compile valid reasons for an appeal, if they have any.
The U.S. Court of Appeals handles approximately 10,000 cases every term! Even the best federal appeals attorneys, however, agree that this particular appeal — and its heavy reliance on a national ruling that does not appear to be in the works — is not likely to go too far.
Speak with an appellate lawyer.