Circuit court denies further stay in Florida, marriages could begin in January

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Florida’s motion for stay of an earlier District Court ruling overturning the state’s ban on marriage equality. That means, unless other circumstances intervene, the stay would on January 6th, enabling same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses at that time.

After US District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in favor of marriage equality in August of 2013, he placed a stay of the decision to allow time for appeals. The stay is scheduled to expire on January 5th. The state of Florida had requested an extension of the stay from the 11th Circuit Court until the appeals process if fully finished, while lawyers for the plaintiff couples had opposed any extension pointing to federal court ruling that struck down similar gay-marriage bans in other states.

"We are thrilled that the 11th Circuit has denied the state's request to delay marriages in Florida. Every day of delay is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples in Florida. Now it's time to break out the wedding bells," said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.  "Florida is ready for the freedom to marry!"