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READ IT HERE: Same-sex couples in Florida respond to request for stay in Supreme Court

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

The two sets of same-sex couples who are challenging Florida’s 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 week.

The responses are from the Grimsley plaintiffs and the Brenner plaintiffs.

Justice Thomas, in his capacity as Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit, could act on the petition alone or ask all nine Justices to act.

You can read them here:Grimsley

14A650 Grimsley Plaintiffs' Response by Equality Case Files


14A650 Brenner Plaintiffs' Response by Equality Case Files

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. RnL2008  |  December 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    When will Justice Thomas make his decision? And if he grants the stay without the full support of the Court, will the Couples then seek a Justice to overturn the Stay? Hopefully Justice Thomas refers to the whole Court on this…..and if so, it is likely that maybe SCOTUS will not grant the stay. I guess we'll know soon enough.

  • 2. franklinsewell  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    RnL2008 … IANAL, but discussions here at EOT have led me to believe that the plaintiffs actually cannot seek a reversal of Thomas's decision from another justice, since it was the state of Florida that requested the stay. Only the party requesting the stay could actually seek out other justices to grant it. Others here can correct me if I'm wrong, of course.

  • 3. RnL2008  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    You might be correct, but the reason that the Justices refer this issue to the entire court is to ENSURE that neither party will go Justice shopping……and seeing as I am also not a legal scholar or lawyer….I could be wrong as well.

  • 4. franklinsewell  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    That's my understanding, too.

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  December 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I do hope he has the basic decency to refer it to the full court to the very least (even if I believe that the stay will be granted by the full court anyway as it happened with Utah last year at this very day I think).
    Although Thomas and decency are not two words you will regularly find close to each other in any text in any way that provides a positive connection between them.

  • 6. hopalongcassidy  |  December 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    The question is really, is there any reason to suppose Thomas is a real human being? Everything I have ever learned about 'him' leads me to believe he's a bad example/result of affirmative action, and an vile excuse for homo sapiens.

  • 7. guitaristbl  |  December 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    He is a poorly qualified for SCOTUS service alleged harasser and a republican man of colour who has always voted against basic rights for every minority in the country, even when he recognized the stupidity of the laws (see Lawrence). We are talking about a special kind of stupid with loads of power in his hands. Oh and given how young he was appointed and how old he is now, he is going to infest this court for at least another 15 years unfortunately. This man being appointed to SCOTUS represents everything that is wrong with the current appointment system especially with the way it's used by republicans.

  • 8. Zack12  |  December 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    It makes me sick to think of how Thursgood Marshall was replaced by him.
    If only he had been able to hang on a few more months…

  • 9. JohnFLKeys  |  December 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    His wife is heavily involved with the tea party. Onne can only wonder how much she and the people she has worked with influence his decisions.

  • 10. sfbob  |  December 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I don't think Thomas was at all an example, good or bad or otherwise, of affirmative action. He was rather an example of how one can benefit from being a party hack. I have little doubt that there were other, arguably far more qualified African-American Republican attorneys who were more deserving of being nominated to the Supreme Court than Thomas ever was or ever will be. One of Thomas's chief qualifications for nomination in the eyes of the extreme right wing was that he was young and therefore would be on the court (sadly) for a very long time. He wasn't the first hack to be appointed to the Supreme Court; particularly during the 19th Century many third-rate jurists won seats there and did enormous amounts of damage to the court's reputation. And, again sadly, he's surely not the last hack who will ever be appointed.

  • 11. Eric  |  December 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Why don't any of these briefs point out that the state won't suffer irreparable harm if it issues marriage licenses now and the bans are later upheld? California had 4,000 marriage licenses issued and invalidated in 2004. Even a decade later, there was no irreparable harm to the state.

    If we go by defendants' claims, that the stay only applies to one country, there is no way one county in Florida would issue more than 4,000 licenses. Going statewide, the likelihood of issuing 4,000 licenses is also low.

    If California didn't have irreparable harm, why would Florida?

  • 12. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 19, 2014 at 6:30 am

    They do point this out.

    From the Brenner Plaintiff’s Response:

    B. Applicants Cannot Show They Will Suffer Irreparable Harm or That the Balance of Equities Tips in their Favor

    “Applicants also cannot show they will suffer irreparable harm or that the balance of equities tips in their favor. Respondents are the ones suffering profound irreparable harms, including the denial of important legal protections and the ongoing degradation of their relationships and their families…” pages 12+

    And from the Grimsley Plaintiffs Response:

    III. The Balance of Equities Weighs Against a Stay.

    “The only tangible harm the Applicants claim they will suffer if the stay is denied is that they will have to “reconfigure” the State’s public employee health insurance, retirement, pension, and vital records systems, as well as recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other States in a range of public employment circumstances [ ] If the stay is denied, it is true that the State will need to make some administrative changes to implement the injunction. Even if any of those administrative changes would have to be reversed in the event the district court decision is reversed [ ] the administrative burden to the State pales in comparison to the harm inflicted on same-sex couples as a result of being denied the protections and dignity of marriage. And that burden is no different than the administrative burden to state officials in Kansas, South Carolina, and other states, who are subject to an injunction against enforcing marriage bans in those states while the States’ appeals are pending.” page 14

  • 13. Raga  |  December 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Arkansas Supreme Court Could Rule On Gay Marriage "Anytime"

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  December 19, 2014 at 6:10 am

    "It could be before the end of 2014 or at the start of 2015"

    Quite vague and I was certain we wouldn't go into 2015…A worrying statement.
    Anyway personally I expect a ruling till Christmas Eve.

  • 15. alatarus  |  December 19, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Don't some of the Ark Supreme Court leave the bench on 12/31/2014?

  • 16. bythesea66  |  December 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Yes, though I'm not sure that will have much effect on the timing beyond that the decision will have been made and written by then.

  • 17. bythesea66  |  December 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I think it will be happen before the New Year, but it is reasonable to get antsy when there are only a few business days left in the year (though really rulings have been released on non-business days and at times that are not the usual, ect.).

  • 18. Zack12  |  December 19, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I think this one will be timed so the justices will be out of town when the ruling comes down.

  • 19. bythesea66  |  December 19, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Agreed, though personally I really hope for a favorable ME ruling before Christmas sometime (possible).

  • 20. brandall  |  December 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Over in Indiana….The state effectively recognizes a civil union as a marriage for a wrongful death occurring prior to dropping their marriage ban. While the article states it is a "first," CT was the first state last June in a State Supreme Court ruling followed by PA in the Summer. Still, this is a good thing to see happening anywhere.

  • 21. sfbob  |  December 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    And over in Kansas, Westboro Baptist Church has once again denied in their quest to intervene in Marie vs Moser. Judge Crabtree was the very model of restraint in turning them down; you can almost hear what he was really thinking.

  • 22. DeadHead  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Yeppers! The opening lines by the judge are wonderful “WBC is an independent church located in Topeka, Kansas. For nearly 25 years, WBC members have engaged in picketing, protesting, and other visible forms of public testimony against what they consider to be the “proud ruinous sins of this generation,” including homosexuality”

  • 23. franklinsewell  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Hey Everyone! Tennessee and Ohio petitioners have officially waived the 14-day waiting period.
    Tennessee case Docket –
    Ohio case Docket –

    From – "Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 15.5, cases are not placed on a Conference List sooner than 14 days after a brief in opposition is filed, unless the petitioner expressly waives the 14-day waiting period."

  • 24. Raga  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Awesome! And the letters are dated today as well. I guess they sent someone over to hand-deliver it to make sure the clerk got it 🙂

    And even if the Kentucky petitioners miss their deadline, their 14 day period ends Dec 23, so it will probably be distributed for the conference anyway? It's a boundary scenario. If the clerk must wait 14 full days, then technically, it won't make the cut. In any case, it is safer for them to file/waive a reply today/Monday.

    By the way, who are the 76 Scholars of Marriage?

  • 25. DeadHead  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Well let's hope KY doesn't miss that deadline. Maybe we should forward a copy of your idea to them suggesting they file a waiver.

  • 26. franklinsewell  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Yeah, Raga … what is odd about the Michigan case though is, apparently, the petitioners waived their right to file a reply brief, but did not waive the 14-day waiting period … quote from docket: "Letter of November 25, 2014, waiving the right to file a repy brief in support of the petition."

  • 27. Raga  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Odd – I thought they were the same thing… Perhaps not. But that still doesn't explain why Michigan's petition has still not been distributed, whereas Louisiana's has been. Anyway, hopefully the Justices don't give serious thought to the crackpot Butcher's amicus brief and keep relisting these cases until his highness files Idaho's cert petition.

  • 28. franklinsewell  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I know!

  • 29. franklinsewell  |  December 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    76 Scholars … I don't know … but their attorney seems to be on our side.

    More about their attorney, Jeffrey S. Trachtman:

    Most notably, Mr. Trachtman served as lead co-counsel with Lambda Legal Defense in Hernandez v. Robles, the historic 2006 case seeking equal marriage rights under the New York constitution. The case resulted in one of the first decisions upholding marriage equality, and while that decision did not survive appeal, the public education impact of the case encouraged the New York Assembly to pass a marriage equality bill within a year, an important step towards full passage in 2011. In related work, Mr. Trachtman led a Kramer Levin team that co-counseled with Lambda Legal in a series of cases establishing recognition under New York law for the valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples – precedent that established standing as a surviving spouse for Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the case striking down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act last year.

    Mr. Trachtman also led Kramer Levin teams that submitted important amicus briefs in a series of historic Supreme Court cases, including Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, Lawrence v. Texas, Windsor v. United States, and Perry v. Hollingsworth. Kramer Levin has submitted an updated version of the Perry and Windsor briefs – addressing the growing support for marriage equality among mainstream religions – in several of the marriage cases now pending in federal appellate courts across the country. Earlier, Mr. Trachtman represented the lesbian survivor of a 9/11 victim in establishing her right to share in her partner’s Victims’ Compensation Fund award. He also serves as point person for Kramer Levin’s pro bono general counsel relationships with the LGBT Community Center and Freedom to Marry.

  • 30. DeadHead  |  December 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Anyone have a link to where this brief is posted so we can read what it says?

  • 31. sfbob  |  December 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I don't know who the others might be but certainly one would be Nancy Cott, who testified during Perry vs Schwartzenegger and whose book "Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation" is a must-read.

  • 32. F_Young  |  December 21, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Off topic: Cuba’s Gay Rights Evolution

  • 33. F_Young  |  December 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Off topic: Report: 594 LGBT people murdered in Americas during 15-month period

    Here are excerpts of the Washington Blade article with highlights of the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights:

    "More than half of these reported deaths during this 15-month period took place in Brazil."
    "Nearly half of the 594 murders the commission documented during the 15-month period were trans women."
    "The commission indicates 80 percent of trans murder victims in the Americas during the 15-month period were 35 years old or younger. Its report further concludes the average life expectancy of trans people in the Western Hemisphere is between 30-35 years."
    "The commission expressed concern that many countries throughout the Americas do not adequately track incidents of anti-LGBT violence. It also highlighted “severe underreporting” of police abuse based on a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression.'
    “The majority of acts of violence against intersex persons, most notably, medical interventions seeking to ‘normalize’ their bodies is the result of state-approved medical protocols, and is not reported in the media, or denounced by the families or organizations,” said the commission’s press release."

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