Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Friday asked the state to keep its ban on same-sex marriage in place until the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on its constitutionality. Her request angered gay rights activists, but Bondi is no stranger to bad press – she’s spent the past four years defending her stances on hot-button issues. With Bondi up for re-election next week, people may be asking: “Who is she?”
Bondi, 48, is Florida’s first female attorney general. She was elected in 2010 after leaving her job as an assistant state attorney (prosecutor) and receiving the endorsement of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Cracking down on drug abuse and human trafficking have been among Bondi’s missions, according to the “Meet Pam” page on her website. Since she took office, pill-related deaths have gone down in Florida and more than $11 million in assets related to criminal use of prescription drugs have been seized.
Bondi is perhaps best known for her opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Florida was one of the 26 states that sued President Barack Obama over the health care law, and in 2011, she wrote a strongly worded letter to the Wall Street Journal condemning the "threat to individual liberty."
Bondi also opposes Florida’s legalization of medical marijuana, which is on the ballot next week. In a 2013 brief, she wrote it was too lenient: “With no ‘condition’ off limits, physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, any time, to anyone, of any age.” The fact-checking site PolitiFact rated her remarks mostly true.
Bondi often signs briefs about legal proceedings in other states, according to the Tampa Bay Times. For example, she opposed a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. She is an active member of the Republican Attorneys General Association, which supports and raises funds for Republican candidates for the position.
In August, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle found that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, but placed a stay on his decision until the U.S. Supreme Court resolved applications from other states on the subject. Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott appealed the case to federal court.
Then earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced it would stop accepting appeals on same-sex marriages in those states -- Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia -- as well as Wisconsin and Indiana. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union asked Hinkle to lift the stay on Oct. 7. Bondi responded with her request on Friday.