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UPDATED: Supreme Court is asked to halt same-sex marriages in Florida

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

UPDATE: Justice Thomas has called for a response by 5PM Thursday.

Same-sex marriage is set to go into effect in Florida on January 5, since the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals declined to issue a stay in the case earlier this month. State officials are now asking the Supreme Court to step in and issue a stay.

The application was filed with Justice Clarence Thomas in his capacity as Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Notably, this is the first opportunity since the Court denied the petitions in several marriage cases that the Justices will get to decide the issue of a stay in a marriage case where there is not binding precedent in favor of same-sex marriage. The Court has consistently denied stays after it declined to review several court of appeals decisions earlier this year.

Justice Thomas could decide to grant or deny the stay on his own, or he could refer it to the full Court.

You can read the filing here:

Florida Application to Stay Preliminary Injunction by Equality Case Files

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Yeah you're right, I thought the next sentence clarified it but I could have made it more accurate. Will fix.

  • 2. RnL2008  |  December 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Scottie, I’m having issues with this site… shows my avatar, but my points aren’t there, nor is my dashboard to sign in or out……can it be fixed?

  • 3. davepCA  |  December 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Are you sure you are 'signed in'? (if you got signed out somehow, you can sign in again by clicking right at the top of the comment section in any article).

  • 4. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Well AG Bondi decided to get this out of the way before the holidays. If referred to the full SCOTUS, it would need 5 votes for the stay to be extended beyond 1/5/15, meaning someone who we believe to be pro-marriage equality would have to side with the other four. I just feel with the circuit split AND the 11CA having not ruled on the case itself, SCOTUS will go down the conservative route and grant this request from the state of Florida. From there, we just have to see if all appeals stop when SCOTUS grants cert in DeBoer v. Snyder of if the 11CA will proceed with orals and a decision once briefing is completed.

  • 5. bythesea66  |  December 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I may be mistaken, but my understanding is that all appeals are put on hold once SCOTUS grants cert, though presumably they will continue moving forward until that moment actually comes.

  • 6. Mike_Baltimore  |  December 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Usually a stay is put in place, but it is not because it is automatic in the Federal court system, but because judges (District or Appeals courts) place a hold on the cases until SCOTUS decides. That SCOTUS decision could very well determine the course of action that must be taken by the courts with regards to any current or future case of the same nature. If what the appeal is asking is what SCOTUS decides, then the case becomes moot, and no further action needs be taken. If SCOTUS decides differently, then the case can continue after the SCOTUS decision.

    In Florida, an automatic stay is placed on the immediate case in the case of an appeal until a higher court rules on the case, but an appeal doesn't automatically mean a stop any other cases.

    In any event, the case referenced by Ryan is the Federal case from Florida, but the cases put on automatic hold are state cases, and even then, it is a judge who has to place a stay on the case, it is not automatic unless it is the immediate case that is appealed.

  • 7. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 15, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Which is where I do have a clarifying question: What is the mechanism by which the Florida federal case is put "on-hold" if SCOTUS accepts the petition of certiorari in the 6CA case of DeBoer v. Snyder? Once SCOTUS accept the petition:
    – Does SCOTUS initiate an order saying all pending cases in federal/circuit courts related to the matter are hereby stayed pending resolution of DeBoer?
    – Does each individual federal district and circuit court self-determine the need to place the pending cases on-hold pending a decision by SCOTUS and then apply that decision to their case?
    – Does a party in each of the cases have to file a motion to suspend the case pending resolution by SCOTUS of the question, and once done, the case gets decided based on that precedent?

  • 8. Mike_Baltimore  |  December 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Judges at the District court and Appeals Court level decide on whether to place a stay, or the appeal is made at SCOTUS, if it receives a request (in other words, SCOTUS does not act unless and until a party appeals to it to act). If a stay 'until final decision' is already in place, there is no need for a higher court to enter a stay. There is no automatic stay of all cases by SCOTUS, but a stay is placed on EACH case. SCOTUS rarely splits decisions on stays (especially if their future decision will 'direct' the courts on how to rule), but each case is considered and announced separately.

    Most lower courts quickly enter a stay, since a SCOTUS decision will probably affect the pending case(s) before them, and thus their future action will be determined by that SCOTUS decision (it would be 'bad form' for a court to rule one way, and SCOTUS rules differently). Some courts take a bit more time to issue a stay, but are pushed (privately or publicly) to put a stay in place by one or another party.

    In effect, SCOTUS doesn't usually issue the stay, but the lower courts do, knowing that the SCOTUS decision will direct their actions, or they can continue the case if the SCOTUS decision doesn't solve the problem presented in the case before them.

  • 9. hopalongcassidy  |  December 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    It will take a few days for Clarence to find someone to read it to him…and then someone to explain what it means.

  • 10. guitaristbl  |  December 15, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    This is going to get interesting soon. I hope Thomas has the decency to refer it to the full court. And then…anything can happen. IMO they will grant the stay till final resolution comes from the 11th. But it remains to be seen.

  • 11. peterplumber  |  December 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    We know that Thomas would grant the stay if he acted alone. But so many times now the request has been presented to the entire court. Thomas would just be an ASSHOLE; if he didn't refer this to the full court.

  • 12. guitaristbl  |  December 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Also worth noting that in their request, Florida officials seem to interpret the decision of the district court as applying to only one county clerk and only they will have to issue licenses according to them. They do not seem too positive the stay will be granted and try to make the plaintiffs' (and all other same sex couples') lives as difficult as possible.

  • 13. RnL2008  |  December 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Yes, Dave…..I am signed in……and I cleared all of my cookies and still I can’t directly reply to you, nor can I see my profile or points…..or anything else…..UGH!!

  • 14. F_Young  |  December 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    RnL2008, you might check if your anti-virus or browser is blocking cookies for specifically or for all sites. Cookies would be deleted after each session or entirely blocked by a browser in incognito or inprivate mode, for example.

  • 15. F_Young  |  December 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Plaintiffs in gay marriage case seek more than $1 million in costs

    After Wisconsin's unsuccessful court fight to block gay marriage, state taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $1 million.

  • 16. RnL2008  |  December 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    F_Young, it was working fine yesterday……but nothing I have done seems to fix it today…..ugh:(

  • 17. RnL2008  |  December 15, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Funny how I am logged out and still able to post and now I know something is wrong with the site…ugh!!!

  • 18. bythesea66  |  December 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Well, it sure hasn't really interfered with you're posting here, so it could be worse. 😛

  • 19. Swifty819  |  December 16, 2014 at 12:16 am

    When I try to log out it says I have an invalid nonce. If I remember from college, this has something to do with network security. (On whose end I have no clue)

  • 20. mario315  |  December 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Reading the depressing Florida petition…. and the Greenberg Traurig Law Firm memo….

    So, if we get good news from SCOTUS and Florida is NOT granted the stay, does it still mean that we will have another Kansas in our hands because the State will only recognize the SCOTUS/ 11th CA Orders as to apply to only one county— the northern redneck Washington County ???…. And thus ME does NOT come to the entire state on 1-6-15 ???…..

    I hope I'm so wrong about this….

  • 21. scream4ever  |  December 16, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Unlikely. The Greenberg memo is not at all binding, and really came out of nowhere from my understanding. The petition for the stay also was the first time (in the official litigation) where it was claimed it only applied to Washington County. The Kansas debacle I expect will end by the end of January to be honest.

  • 22. Sagesse  |  December 16, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Commission weighs warning letter to clerk of court over gay marriage licenses [Billings Gazette]

    "The Yellowstone County commission is expected to give Clerk of Court Kristie Boelter a warning: either follow the law regarding accommodating employee exemptions or go it alone in court if the county gets sued….

    "…the county attorney and the county’s human resources department staff both advised Boelter that state and federal law required her to make reasonable accommodations to exempt the clerk from issuing licenses, Boelter said she disagreed with their advice."

    Question for the group… do federal and state law mandate a religious exemption for county clerks? I would have thought that is at least open to question?

  • 23. TDGrove  |  December 16, 2014 at 6:24 am

    As a starting point, here is what the Feds have to say on the subject. I'm sure there is case law and such. Two questions that come to my mind are:

    1. What does the clerk have to do to show that performing this task is against their religion?
    2. If the clerk is the only one available and the chief made a reasonable effort to staff the office to avoid the situation, can the clerk be compelled?

    My guess is that the County commission just wants these type of questions answered ahead of time.

    Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation

    The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion.

    Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.

    Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation & Undue Hardship

    An employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. An accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.

  • 24. Sagesse  |  December 16, 2014 at 7:21 am


    Is the government as employer different from other employers. The job is to provide government services to the public. Is taking a day off to observe a religious holiday, or wearing a hijab different from refusing government service (a marriage licence) to one group of taxpaying citizens, but not others. Can a judge refuse to grant an adoption to same sex parents because of his/her religious beliefs?

    Why does it matter if there are other clerks who will issue a licence? How does a clerk's right to discriminate based on religious principles vary from one government office to another? Should an LGBT couple have to leave and come back later when another clerk is available?

    Does it matter if the clerk is elected?

    Academic/legal questions… don't know the answer, since in the US, 'freedom of religion', at least sometimes, seems to include the right to inflict one's religious beliefs on others who do not share those beliefs.

  • 25. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 16, 2014 at 6:30 am

    That's weird. I had to read that twice because I was getting confused. Gotta love how ass-backwards that is.

  • 26. sfbob  |  December 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Totally off-topic but I couldn't resist: A separate item linked on the same page noted that a Delta flight from…well the article didn't say where it was from actually but it was headed for Paris…had to make an emergency stop at Billings Logan International Airport due to an electrical problem. I can only imagine how I'd irked feel if I were headed to Paris and wound up instead in Billings (where my partner's family lives so I know whereof I speak). Although the airport sits atop a huge bluff overlooking the city, such as it is, and the view is actually rather charming, Billings certainly isn't Paris.

  • 27. Eric  |  December 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

    What accommodations were made when Christians refused to marry interracial couples?

  • 28. fireman452  |  December 16, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Brenner here again. Well it is interesting that the law firm creating the "confusion" referenced in Bondi's appeal also filed another memo the same day as Bondi's appeal. It is also interesting that this law firm representing the assoc of county clerks totally ignored paragraph 4 of Judge Hinkle's Preliminary Injunction. This paragraph clearly states that the Surgeon General and any and all employees, attys, Agents, etc etc are here by bared from enforcing the statute and constitutional amendment that Hinkle found to be Federally UNCONSTITUTIONAL once the stay is lifted. The clerk of courts in our case whined repeatedly that he should NOT be named in our suit because he is Acting as an agent for the Dept of Health and Human Services. So the confusion Bondi refers to comes from this law firm. The fact that they have ignored Judge Hinkle's very clear inclusion of all 67 county clerks indicates one of two things. 1 they are not familiar with how Florida regulstes the issuance of marriage licenses or 2. They are intentionally creating confusion. The former is not likely as their clients issue marriage licenses so that just leaves …… Hmmmmmmmmmm

  • 29. Eric  |  December 16, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I'm surprised the firm got a conflict waiver from the same-sex couple they also represented in a Miami adoption case. The firm is now representing opposing parties. I would have never waived the conflict and filed a bar complaint.

  • 30. RnL2008  |  December 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Blessed Yule/Season’s Greeting/Happy Kwanzaa to you all…I’ll come back when I can see this site the way it’s supposed to be and not the way it was before this site required us all to register. Ugh!!

  • 31. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Yay, Yule!

  • 32. RnL2008  |  December 16, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Blessed Yule to you and yours<3

  • 33. galen697  |  December 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I was expecting this. I'll bet this is Thomas's way of sticking it to his colleagues for denying the certs back in October. Now the question is whether the rest of the court will overrule one of their own.

  • 34. tornado163  |  December 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Isn't this pretty much what all of the other justices have done? They get a stay petition and ask for responses within a couple of days. Then they referred the stay petitions to the full court which denied the stays. I don't see any reason to think Thomas is doing anything differently.

  • 35. DrBriCA  |  December 17, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Thomas is thus far following the same protocol the others have done with asking for a response to the stay request. Alito did not refer the PA request to the full court, but that was the request from the clerk without any standing to contest the decision, and so it was a slam dunk (even for a conservative like Alito).

    The real question is what Thomas will do after he has the response… He's made it clear that he would've granted a stay for Kansas and SC, despite those states being in circuits with final rulings in favor of ME. Will he grant the stay on his own (risking another petition to the full court) or still refer it? We shall see. Perhaps if he believes the full SCOTUS will grant the stay since the 11th has not heard the appeal yet (similar to Kitchen), then he may feel comfortable giving the request to the full court.

    I wonder if Bondi timed her application for this week after the last December conference in hopes that Thomas would grant the stay on his own now that the justices are on recess until January. The court shot down SC's request fairly quickly while they were still actively meeting for hearings and conferences, so maybe she's hoping that Thomas wants to avoid a conference call on this topic during the holidays. (I do realize that the 11th's refusal was a little over a week ago, so most likely she did need this time to draft the petition.)

  • 36. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 17, 2014 at 5:01 am

    I have to say Justice Clayton Bigsby (Thomas) is much more pedantic than Alito. The man refuses to talk most of the time and all of his opinions come off as snooty.

  • 37. Equality On TrialREAD IT &hellip  |  December 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    […] marriage ban in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals have now filed their responses to the request for a stay; the request went to the Supreme Court earlier this […]

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