Marriage equality confusion strikes Florida

Attorney General Pam Bondi tries – and possibly fails – to appeal on every possible level

Theater of hate

Like a cat’s cradle knotted up in the edges of a Rubik’s Cube, the marriage equality issue is becoming more of a litigious conundrum by the day, thanks in large part to our friends Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott. At this point, there’s no need to go over the optics or the posturing of either figurehead – they both hate gay people, even though some of Pam’s best friends were gay in law school, we hear tell – but there is some need for clarity. Except clarity is just about the only thing absent from this frothy rainbow mess.

On Sept. 4, Bondi effectively blocked what could have been the beginning of issuances of same-sex marriage licenses on Sept. 22 when she filed a last-minute appeal in two Florida marriage lawsuits in federal court. Of course, Bondi didn’t have any right to do so, because a judge already removed her from the cases, but that didn’t stop her. Via a workaround involving using one Scott appointee and two state staffers, Bondi puppeteered what would seem to be her act of last resort on the issue, just because she felt like it. Or, rather, it’s all too much for her, so let’s leave it to the U.S. Supreme Court in this very important election year, OK?

However there was – and may still be – a silver lining. Bondi had until Sept. 3 to appeal a Broward same-sex divorce case and Sept. 4 to appeal a Palm Beach same-sex estate case, but she did not. Why? “We were not parties to those cases,” her spokeswoman said in a “terse” manner, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Hey everybody! We’re about to have our first gay divorce! And that’s totally a gateway.

Likely catching wind of this loophole as it blew betwixt her ears, Bondi tossed a Hail Mary late on Sept. 5 in an attempt to convince the judge in the Broward divorce case to hold off, even though (again) she has no business doing so. Confused? Even the attorneys we’ve spoken to who are fighting these cases are confused. Angry? You should be. Equality Florida certainly is.

“If Gov. Scott insists [upon] continuing his crusade to keep people who love each other from marrying, he should stop mumbling and hiding and take full responsibility for the continued suffering the [marriage] ban inflicts every day it remains in place,” EQFL deputy director Stratton Pollitzer said in a statement.

Every. Single. Day.