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The Buzz: Bondi wants Florida Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage

Attorney General Pam Bondi wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to decide on gay marriage, now her office has shifted to request that the Florida Supreme Court make a ruling.
Attorney General Pam Bondi wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to decide on gay marriage, now her office has shifted to request that the Florida Supreme Court make a ruling.
Published Oct. 14, 2014

Attorney General Pam Bondi said Monday night that she wants the state Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether same-sex couples can marry in the Sunshine State.

"That is unquestionably an important issue, and the Plaintiffs, the State, and all citizens deserve a definitive answer," Bondi's office wrote in a filing to the state's 3rd District Court of Appeal. "Until recently, the issue was squarely before the United States Supreme Court, and it appeared that a definitive answer was coming. . . . Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court decided not to answer the question."

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the gay marriage issue in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, along with Wisconsin and Indiana, when it announced justices would not hear appeals in federal court decisions allowing same-sex marriages in those states. Since then, same-sex couples have also been allowed to wed in North Carolina, Idaho and Alaska.

On July 17, Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia declared Florida's 2008 gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, ruling against Bondi, whose office defended the ban. The ruling was made with an automatic stay. On July 25, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel also declared Florida's ban unconstitutional. Her ruling also was stayed, pending appeal.

The attorney general took both losses to the Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal, where the cases were consolidated. Lawyers for the plaintiffs asked the Florida Supreme Court to take the cases immediately, but Bondi asked to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court decided the issue.

Crist gets support

First lady Michelle Obama is attending a Friday rally in Orlando to campaign alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

Tickets for this free "grass roots event" will be available through Thursday, but the Crist campaign is requiring people to pick up paper tickets — no more than two total — by visiting one of Crist's three Orlando field offices. Get more information at charliecrist.com.

Campaign accused

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign accused Crist's campaign Monday of "surreptitiously" refunding $42,500 in contributions that exceeded the $3,000 legal limit on individual donations. The refunds are listed on the Division of Elections' website, as are Scott's.

A Times/Herald review of Scott's campaign finances shows he has returned $43,095 in donations. Crist's refunds are fewer and in bigger amounts.

Scott's camp said that Crist returned the donations after an election law complaint and by doing so, "They've admitted they were guilty of the infractions while trying to circumvent the Elections Commission process."

The Crist campaign said: "There were some minor accounting errors, and we fixed them because that's what you do when errors are made."

Steve Bousquet contributed.