Gay couple asks Florida judge to lift stay, allow them to marry

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Attorneys for a gay couple in the Florida Keys filed a motion on July 21 asking Circuit Judge Luis Garcia to lift the automatic stay triggered by the appeal filed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Garcia, on July 17, ruled that the state amendment against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and he ordered the Monroe County clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples but he placed a stay on the order until July 22.

Since the judge's ruling, Bondi, a Republican, appealed the order.

But the same-sex couple, their attorney and activists in the state argue the stay should be lifted and gay couples should be allowed to marry.

“In his ruling, Judge Luis Garcia confirmed that every single day these couples are denied marriage licenses, their constitutional rights are violated, and they suffer harms and risk of harms, for which they can never be compensated," said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida. "Even Attorney General Pam Bondi cannot dispute the fact that allowing these couples to marry right now harms no one. Our families have waited far too long already, and we hope Judge Garcia will lift the stay so that couples can begin obtaining marriage licenses in Monroe County immediately."

Monroe County consists mostly of the Keys.

There are several cases challenging Florida's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Monroe County case was brought by Key West residents Aaron Hunstman and William Lee Jones. They are represented by Bernadette Restivo of the law firm Restivo, Reilly & Vigil-Farinas LLC.