11th Circuit will not delay the freedom to marry in Florida; ruling takes effect January 5

Today, December 3, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Florida's motion for a further stay in a ruling for the freedom to marry earlier this year, meaning that same-sex couples should be able to begin getting marriage licenses starting at the end of the day on January 5, 2015, statewide. 

Now, the state of Florida can seek a stay from the United States Supreme Court, althought the court has already denied similar requests for stay extensions in South Carolina, Alaska, Idaho, and Kansas. 

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson said today:

The 11th Circuit did the right thing today by refusing to delay marriages for same-sex couples in Florida any longer. As the first joyful weddings take place, Floridians will see firsthand that the freedom to marry helps families and communities, and harms no one. And against this backdrop of happy families and more marriages, we hope the court soon hands down a final ruling that ensures that all committed couples in the Sunshine State, as well as Georgia and Alabama, finally have the freedom to marry the person they love.

The ruling was in the case Brenner v. Armstrong and Gimrsley and Albu v. Scott, two federal cases seeking the freedom to marry and respect for marriages legally performed in other states, in Florida. Grimsley and Albu v. Scott was originally filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of SAVE, an LGBT organization in Miami and eight same-sex couples who were married in other states seeking respect in Florida. The case is on a parallel track as Brenner v. Scott, filed by private lawyers on behalf of two same-sex couples from northern Florida.  On August 21, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and respect for marriages legally performed between same-sex couples in other states in the cases. 

The 11th Circuit's decision underscores that same-sex couples should not have to wait to marry and that there is no good reason to delay justice. 

Read more about litigation in Florida here.