The Supreme Court will not block gay marriages in Florida while the state’s attorney general appeals a federal judge’s ruling that a ban on marriages was unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. Couples could start marrying on Jan. 6, once a stay on the decision runs out.
Florida has banned same-sex marriages since 2008, when voters passed the ban. The Christian Family coalition, which supports the ban, called the overturning of the ban “the unconstitutional suppression of voter rights committed by outlaw judges.”
The ACLU challenged the ban, and U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle overturned the ban in August, but put a stay on the decision until Jan. 5, meaning that his ruling wouldn’t come into effect until the stay ran out. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but the court refused to extend that stay. Bondi then went to the Supreme Court. She argued there should be a definite ruling before any changes in marriage laws come into effect.
“If Florida’s law is going to change in the substantial manner the injunction would require, it should happen only after the order undergoes appellate review,” Bondi said, according to McClatchy. “The public interest is not served by on-again, off-again marriage laws.”
The ACLU, however, argued that every day that the ban remains in place is a day that same-sex couples are harmed. Those couples are stripped of key protections that the law provides to married couples, the ACLU said, according to the Miami Herald.
Justice Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both historically conservative judges, dissented. The Supreme Court is expected to announce in January whether or not they will hear similar same-sex marriage cases from around the country and make a final decision on striking down or upholding same-sex marriage bans on the national level, according to Reuters.