TALLAHASSEE - The US Supreme Court on Friday declined to extend a stay sought by Florida officials defending the state's ban on same-sex marriages, allowing gay marriages to proceed in Florida next month.
Some weddings would be allowed to start when a stay expires after Jan. 5 following an order by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta earlier this month.
"The Supreme Court once again has spoken, opening the door for marriage equality here," said Nadine Smith, chief executive officer of Equality Florida, an advocacy group.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who asked the high court to block gay marriages earlier in the week, indicated she would not try to stop the start of marriages.
"Regardless of the ruling, it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage," she said. "Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on January 5."