Mitch Perry Report 10.7.14: SCOTUS puts the same-sex marriage issue back in Pam Bondi's lap

Meeting for the first day of the 2014-2015 session, the U.S. Supreme Court made huge news yesterday by deciding not to get involved with same-sex marriage. That let stay the decisions made in three U.S. Courts of Appeal ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, effectively legalizing it in five states, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. What this means is that gay marriage is the law of the land now in 24 states, and legal analysts say the decision will likely legalize it in six more states, bringing to 30 the number of states where gay marriage is now legal.

So what about Florida?

Immediately after the news broke yesterday, all eyes turned toward Pam Bondi. The Florida attorney general has appealed one federal court and several circuit court decisions this year that ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but in responding to rulings in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in August, she asked that the Miami-based Third District Court of Appeal not hear any more of these cases until the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed similar same-sex decisions from other states, which is what the high court opted not to do yesterday. 

Critics accused her of abdicating her responsibility. So what does she do now? She admittedly didn't have much time to prepare a response when she was in Bay News 9's Pinellas Park studios yesterday afternoon to tape her one and only scheduled debate  with Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer. She said her office will be "reviewing" the decision. 

The ACLU of Florida says it will file a motion in the federal case in North Florida to have the stay on same-sex marriages removed, while the case then moves up to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.  

In other news...

While the debate about Greenlight Pinellas goes on, supporters of the measure held a news conference yesterday to criticize some of the tactics employed by the formal opposition, No Tax for Tracks. 

Rick Scott did something rare in this desultory gubernatorial campaign — he sort of went positive in a TV ad. 

Meanwhile the Charlie Crist campaign yesterday brought out a man named John Schilling,  who blew the whistle on Rick Scott's former health care company, HCA/Columbia, back in the 1990s. He held a press conference yesterday in Tallahassee. 

And there was a big demonstration extolling the virtues of solar power over the weekend at USF. CL's Ashley Whitney reports.

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