The Florida Keys judge who found the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional last week refused Monday to let gay couples start marrying in Monroe County, in light of the state's pending appeal.
Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia denied an emergency motion, filed earlier Monday by the Key West bartenders whose suit had successfully gotten the ban overturned, to lift the stay of his ruling.
Garcia ruled last week that the ban on same-sex marriage written into the state constitution by Florida voters in 2008 is discriminatory and violates gay people's right to equal treatment under the law.
Garcia had initially ruled that marriage licenses could be issued in Monroe County as early as Tuesday. However, that was immediately blocked by an automatic stay triggered when Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi filed notice of the state's appeal.
Lawsuits challenging Florida's gay marriage ban are also pending in Miami-Dade County and Tallahassee federal court.
Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director of Equality Florida, released a statement Monday after the motion was filed.
"In his ruling, Judge Luis Garcia confirmed that every single day these couples are denied marriage licenses, their constitutional rights are violated, and they suffer harms and risk of harms, for which they can never be compensated," Pollitzer said. "Even Attorney General Pam Bondi cannot dispute the fact that allowing these couples to marry right now harms no one. Our families have waited far too long already, and we hope Judge Garcia will lift the stay so that couples can begin obtaining marriage licenses in Monroe County immediately."