Florida is doing marriage equality New Mexico-style — one county at a time. Where New Mexico was a hodgepodge of counties across the state, Florida is working its way up from the bottom. First a Monroe County (The Florida Keys) court overturned the marriage law. Then it was Miami-Dade. Next Broward County (Fort Lauderdale). Most recently, Palm Beach County, the next county up the coast from Broward.
A stay was placed on the judges’ decisions, so marriages have not begun in that state.
Tallahassee and Tampa are expected to rule next.
Here’s a suggestion for judges placing stays on their rulings, delaying the implementation of equality. If it’s OK for gay people to wait until the Supreme Court rules, it’s OK for everyone to wait. If you must place a stay on the state’s marriage law, stay the entire law and ban everyone — yes, everyone — from marrying in your state until the Supreme Court weighs in. If it’s OK for gays and lesbians to delay 1,000+ rights conferred with marriage, it’s OK for some straight people to experience that delay as well. Is that a little spiteful? No, that’s equality.
The state court in Tallahassee may rule that there’s no need to stay the lower court rulings and those counties where couples have sued, same-sex couples be able to begin marrying.
One couple in Oklahoma ran out of time waiting for the Supreme Court to rule.
Jerry Custer and Kim Woodward planned to marry until Woodward passed away in late July following complications from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH (unrelated to our new old editor).
The couple was together for 20 years.
Shortly before Woodward passed away, a federal judge in Oklahoma struck down the state’s ban on marriage equality. The couple was planning on marrying but the decision was stayed, making it impossible for them to legally commit before Woodward died. After spending so much of their lives together, Custer said that one of the hardest things was dealing with the death certificate: “I lived here with him for 20 years. On relationship, I had to put down: friend.”
On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Bostic v. Schaefer, the case challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.
“I believe this case will prove compelling for the court because of the stringent, discriminatory nature of Virginia’s marriage ban, the range of critical questions presented, the clear legal standing of the parties, and Virginia’s historic role in 1967’s Loving case ending bans on interracial marriage. Virginia got that case wrong. Now, we have a chance to get it right, and to help extend to all Americans the right to marry the person they love,” Herring said in a statement.
Although Herring did not defend the law in court, he did seek a stay, indicating there could be harm or confusion if couples are allowed to marry before the Supreme Court rules. If he believes this, then all marriages in the state should have been suspended.
Pennsylvania became a marriage equality state earlier this year when a district court declared the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional and the governor and attorney general agreed to abide by the court’s ruling. No, everything doesn’t need to go to the Supreme Court.
In Bloomsburg, Penn., W.W. Bridal Boutique refused to help a lesbian couple preparing for their wedding, saying that they do not work with same-sex couples. The shop, which has faced public scrutiny, stood by their statement, saying: “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do. And providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.” The Bloomsburg City Council is meeting today to discuss the incident and according to ThinkProgress, “possibly consider legislation that will will protect LGBT residents in the future.”
We agree these two women shouldn’t force this company to take thousands of dollars from them for their dresses. This couple should find a store that will share their joy — a store that will serve their customers. It’s nice to know the bigots in Bloomsburg have a place to shop.