A state appeals court denied a request from a gay couple in Key West to lift a stay of a judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.
Monroe Circuit Judge Luis Garcia last week ruled in favor of Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two bartenders who sued County Clerk of Court Amy Heavilin for refusing to grant them a marriage license.
Garcia ruled the Florida Marriage Protection Act, put into the state Constitution by voters in 2008, violates due process and U.S. constitutional protections against discrimination.
Garcia’s decision was the latest in a string of victories for gay-rights proponents throughout the nation since a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last year that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
But on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal agreed with Garcia’s decision Monday to keep a stay on his ruling.
Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is defending the state law, asked the courts to keep the stay in place until the appellate process is exhausted as courts have done in other cases.
Gay-marriage supporters plan to deliver petitions to Bondi’s Capitol office Thursday asking her to join a handful of attorneys general from other states who have decided not to defend the gay-marriage prohibitions.