Miami-Dade County first in Florida to allow same-sex marriage

Miami-Dade County first in Florida to allow same-sex marriage

[JURIST] A judge in Florida’s Miami-Dade County on Monday lifted a stay on her July decision [ruling, PDF] that held that bans on same-sex marriage violated equal protection rights, hours ahead of statewide legalization. Judge Sarah Zabel immediately stayed her decision in July while the state appealed. Last Thursday, a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website] ruled [order] that Florida county clerks have a legal duty to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, while also noting that they are not ordered to do so [JURIST report]. This legal duty will begin when the stay expires at the end of the day on January 5, but marriages in Miami-Dade could begin as early as Monday afternoon. This will make Florida the thirty-sixth state to allow same-sex marriage.

The debate over the legalization of same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most contentious legal issues [JURIST op-ed] nationwide. On Saturday the governor of Idaho and his Attorney General separately filed [governor’s petition, attorney general’s petition, PDF] petitions to the US Supreme Court [official website] to appeal a court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Idaho [JURIST report]. In October the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] seven pending same-sex marriage cases, allowing those appeals court rulings to stand and effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in several states. The Supreme Court has yet to issue a nationwide ruling on same-sex marriage. In certain states, the Supreme Court’s avoidance has created confusion and legal uncertainty [JURIST op-ed]. However, the current circuit split increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in regards to same-sex marriage.