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FLA AG CANDIDATES SPAR IN DEBATE

Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor

Monday, October 6, 2014 9:32pm

Florida's three attorney general candidates highlighted stark differences in their views on issues ranging from Obamacare to gambling and medical marijuana during a televised debate Monday, but incumbent Pam Bondi didn't commit on the issue of the day - gay marriage.

After the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear appeals from five states seeking to prevent gay marriage, Bondi hedged when asked how her office will handle a U.S. District Court judge's decision to overturn Florida's ban on same-sex marriage. The Attorney General's Office previously has defended the ban on the state and federal levels and has appealed the district judge's decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

"My office - I think it just came out less than three hours ago - will be reviewing that, see what happens next. There are a lot of other cases in the pipeline," Bondi said.

The debate, the only one scheduled for this race, was taped in Bay News 9's studio.

Democratic opponent George Sheldon said it would be best for Floridians if Bondi dropped the matter immediately.

"Government ought to get out of the business of telling people who they can love," he said, adding that Bondi has a "higher responsibility" to defend not only the Florida Constitution, but the U.S. Constitution as well. "It is now clear, with the Supreme Court's action, what that means."

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