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Supreme Court decision encourages gay marriage backers in Florida

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court today decided not to take up same-sex marriage, paving the way for five states - Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin - to start issuing licenses. It was a surprise turn of events and celebrated by gay rights advocates in Florida, where judges have invalidated the state's same-sex marriage ban.

"We are preparing now to take the necessary steps to ask the court in our case to lift the stay and allow Florida couples who are married out of state or who wish to be married to have those marriages respected by their home state as soon as possible," said ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley. "Given that the justices of our nation's highest court just sent a strong message that they are content to let equality in marriage happen, we hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will give up their dead-end campaign to resist what is now clear historical inevitability by treating same-sex couples who wish to solemnize their love for one another in marriage as legal strangers.

"We said that marriage equality is coming to Florida. After today's message from the nation's highest court, we know that it is coming even sooner."

But John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Policy Council, argued the action has no bearing on Florida.

"Florida's opponents of natural marriage are trying to argue that the Attorney General and Florida courts should ignore the legitimate process and procedure and become social change agents," Stemberger said in a statement. "Unless and until a federal appeals court over Florida issues an adverse ruling, then Florida's current valid marriage laws should continue to be upheld by the Attorney General and Florida judges alike. Further, no same-sex marriage licenses should be issued, and any decision otherwise by a Florida court or a clerk of court, would be irresponsible and illegitimate. The high court's failure to take this matter up is, in part, a disregard of it's duty, but it is also an indication that they are not going to force a 'one- size-fits-all' Roe v. Wade type decision on marriage around the country."

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