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Bondi unclear about fate of appeal to uphold ban on gay marriage

With gay couples being able to marry in Florida now, it’s easy to forget that Attorney General Pam Bondi still has an appeal at the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta that would uphold the ban.

Bondi has been vague about what she plans to do with the appeal.

But avoiding questions about it was difficult Tuesday as Bondi found herself surrounded by reporters because of inaugural festivities.

Bondi missed the inaugural prayer breakfast at FAMU, but a spokesman said it was because one of her family members was sick and that she decided to stay with them.

She did attend her inauguration, however. The ceremony took place on the steps of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee just across the street from the Leon County Courthouse, where, hours earlier, gay couples began getting married.

After her inaugural ceremony, Bondi was asked about what’s next. She still isn’t providing much detail. She suggests that it’s not up to her, but her employee, solicitor general, Allen Winsor, to review the case and decide. She also states that she’s waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide an overriding precedent that the states can follow, even though the highest court has already passed on a number of cases that dealt with gay marriage.

Here’s a transcript of the brief interview:

Q: What do you plan on doing with that appeal?

“My solicitor general (Allen Winsor) is looking at it and I wish everyone the best right now who has been married. I guess more couples today are getting married and I wish them the best. All we’ve ever really wanted is uniformity.”

Q: But with other states having dropped the fight, is it time now for Florida to do so as well?

“My solicitor general is looking at it. Well, it’s legal in certain counties. And we’re still hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case. That’s all we wanted all along is uniformity.”

Q: So is (Winsor) available for comment?

“He’s reviewing it.”

Q: When will he reach a conclusion?

“Soon I hope. And hopefully we’ll see what the U.S. Supreme Court is going to do, if they’re going to take it.”

If that sounds like Bondi's heart may not be in keeping up the fight, it might be because most other Republicans are packing it in.

While Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, won't say he supports the ban on gay marriage, he did say that there wasn't anything else to be done.

"The court clarified what the constitution says," Brandes said. "I think the battle's over."

Florida House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, also wouldn't comment on her personal views on gay marriage. 

But she did say "the courts have spoken and it appears settled, at least to me, that gay marriage is now legal in Florida. I truly wish all couples taking vows today the best in their future lives together."

At least for now, it doesn't sound like Republicans have much more fight in them on this issue. And that could mean the clock is ticking on that appeal in the Atlanta.

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