Filing, explaining how ban harms Florida families, is a response to State’s final opportunity to stop federal court victory from going into effect at end of day January 5th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 18, 2014
CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union  filed a response at the United States Supreme Court today stating that the Court should reject Florida’s request for further extension of the stay placed on a federal court’s decision that struck down Florida’s ban on allowing and recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples. The response argued that Florida families suffer harms every day the ban remains in place.

“Governor Scott, his appointees, and Attorney General Pam Bondi’s efforts to delay the implementation of the order striking down the marriage ban are as senseless as they are incredibly harmful,” stated ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley. “Every day that the couples we represent and the thousands of families across Florida who are also denied the protections of marriage go without those protections, they are suffering real harm, as Judge Hinkle’s order made plainly clear. We are glad to have had the opportunity to explain to our nation’s highest court why it is time to let love win in Florida, and we are hopeful that the Court will reject Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi’s increasingly-desperate efforts, just as it has refused all requests to stay rulings striking down discriminatory marriage bans since this October.”

On November 5th, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued an order stating that the stay would be lifted at the end of the day on January 5th. The ruling striking down the marriage ban was the result of two cases -- one brought by the ACLU of Florida on behalf of eight couples, a Fort Myers widow, and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization; the other by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Sam Jacobson on behalf of two couples.  The defendants asked the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (where the appeal is pending) to extend the stay for the duration of the appeal, and the court denied that request on December 3.

Earlier this week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a motion at the United States Supreme Court asking to extend the temporary stay on the implementation of Judge Hinkle’s ruling striking down the state’s marriage ban as unconstitutional. On December 16th, the Supreme Court requested a response from the plaintiffs in the cases. If the Supreme Court does not grant the extension, the historic federal court decision striking down the marriage ban will go into effect when the stay expires at the end of the day on January 5th.

From the response filed today:

“The Grimsley Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples throughout Florida are subjected to irreparable harm every day they are forced to live without the security and protections that marriage provides.  While this case remains pending on appeal, children will be born, spouses and partners will get sick, and some will die.  The substantive legal protections afforded by marriage can be critical, if not life-changing, during such major life events and personal crises.


“If a stay is granted, each day that passes while the appeal is pending, some people will pass away without ever having been able to marry the person they love or to have their marriage recognized in their home state, depriving their surviving spouse of important protections, as plaintiff Arlene Goldberg continues to experience.

“The concrete harms that same-sex couples suffer, along with the significant stigma that flows from being branded “second-tier” families... each day they are excluded from marriage, far outweigh any harm the Applicants claim will befall them or the public if they are required to comply with the injunction.”

A copy of the brief filed today is available here:

Attorneys from the ACLU and the ACLU of Florida and Stephen F. Rosenthal of Podhurst Orseck, P.A. represent eight same-sex couples, a widow from Ft. Myers, and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization, in a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s marriage ban.

More information on the ACLU’s case, including bios of the couples, is available at: