Fla. officials file notice to appeal federal same-sex marriage ruling

Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.)

Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) AP

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Defendants in two federal lawsuits challenging Florida’s marriage ban filed a notice Thursday that they are appealing the August 21 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle overturning Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.)AP

Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.)

The ruling, a result of two separate federal lawsuits made Florida the 16th state in which a federal court has found a marriage ban unconstitutional since the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the main provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The notice of appeal was filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott appointees named in the suits: John Armstrong (Surgeon General) and Craig Nichols (Secretary of the Department of Management Services), and Washington County Clerk of Court Harold Bazzell.

Equality Florida blasted the decision to appeal the ruling, which came just hours after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld rulings that similar marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional.

“Make no mistake, the responsibility for today’s appeal belongs to Gov. Scott. This appeal would not be moving forward without his full support,” said Equality Florida Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer, in a statement.

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“The Governor’s continued strategy of trying to hide behind the attorney general and even his own employees is a shameful display of election year cowardice. Gov. Scott can still use the power of his office and call for an end to the these costly and hopeless appeals and allow Florida’s ban on marriage equality to end this month,” said Pollitzer.

Last week, former Florida governor Charlie Crist, who is challenging Scott in November in a bid to return to the governor’s office, urged the governor not to appeal ruling.

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