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Filing # 22132827 E-Filed 01/03/2015 12:04:05 PM

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA

CATHERINA PARETO and KARLA
ARGUELLO; JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ
and DAVID PRICE; VANESSA ALENIER
and MELANIE ALENIER; TODD DELMAY
and JEFFREY DELMAY; SUMMER
GREENE and PAMELA FAERBER; DON
PRICE JOHNSTON and JORGE DIAZ; and
EQUALITY FLORIDA INSTITUTE, INC.,

CASE NO. 2014-1661-CA-01

Plaintiffs,
v.
HARVEY RUVIN, as Clerk of the Courts of
Miami-Dade County, Florida, in his official
capacity,
Defendant.
____________________________________/
PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT HARVEY RUVIN’S MOTION FOR
CLARIFICATION AND MOTION TO EXPEDITE

INTRODUCTION
Plaintiffs Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Juan Carlos Rodriguez and
David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeffrey Delmay; Summer
Greene and Pamela Faerber; Don Price Johnston and Jorge Diaz; and Equality
Florida Institute, Inc. (“Plaintiffs”) respectfully submit this Memorandum in
response to Defendant Harvey Ruvin’s Motion for Clarification and Motion to
Expedite. As explained below, Plaintiffs request that this Court vacate the stay of
its July 25, 2014 ruling immediately in light of the imminent expiration of the stay
in Brenner v. Scott (N.D. Fla. , Case Nos. 4:14cv107–RH/CAS and 4:14cv138–
RH/CAS).
DISCUSSION
On July 25, 2014, this Court held that Plaintiffs have the right to marry the
person of their choice, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and directed the
Miami-Dade County Clerk of Court to issue marriage licenses to Plaintiffs, whose
applications previously had been denied.

Based on the circumstances then

existing, this Court stayed its order pending the final resolution of the case on
appeal.
Defendant Ruvin now seeks clarification regarding the status of that stay in
light of the August 21, 2014 ruling by Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Florida, declaring that Florida’s laws
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barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the federal Constitution and
enjoining their enforcement. See Brenner v. Scott, 999 F. Supp. 2d 1278, 1284
(N.D. Fla. 2014). Judge Hinkle issued a temporary stay of his ruling through
January 5, 2015. Id. Both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and
the U.S. Supreme Court declined requests by the defendants in that case (including
state officials represented by Florida’s Attorney General) to stay Judge Hinkle’s
ruling beyond January 5, 2015. As a result, Judge Hinkle’s ruling will go into
effect following the expiration of the stay on January 5, 2015.
On January 1, 2015, Judge Hinkle issued an additional order confirming that
all Florida county clerks may rely on his August 21, 2014 ruling to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples beginning on January 6, 2015 and that the federal
Constitution requires them to do so. See Order attached to Clerk’s Notice of Filing
of Supplemental Authority (Jan. 2, 2015) (Filing # 22111114) at 3-4 (“Order”).
Judge Hinkle further explained:
And a clerk who chooses not to follow the ruling should take note:
the governing statutes and rules of procedure allow individuals to
intervene as plaintiffs in pending actions, allow certification of
plaintiff and defendant classes, allow issuance of successive
preliminary objections, and allow issuance of successive preliminary
injunctions, and allow successful plaintiffs to recover costs and
attorney’s fees.
Id. at 3.

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Following that ruling, counsel for the Florida Association of Court Clerks
and Comptrollers advised the Association and its member county clerks “that
clerks should follow the judge’s ruling for all marriage license applications or face
the consequences identified by Judge Hinkle.”

See Sean Rossman, Update:

Wakulla County to offer same-sex marriage licenses on Tuesday, Tallahassee
Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/local/2015/01/02/clerks-urgedissue-sex-marriage-licenses/21191535/ (last visited Jan. 2, 2015).

Moreover,

Florida’s Attorney General issued the following statement regarding Judge
Hinkle’s January 1, 2015 order:
This office has sought to minimize confusion and uncertainty,
and we are glad [Judge Hinkle] has provided additional guidance. My
office will not stand in the way as clerks of court determine how to
proceed.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Statement Regarding Judge Hinkle’s Order, Jan. 1,
2015,

available

at

http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/

891D80F35B6D0B6985257DC0007E5358 (last visited Jan. 2, 2015).
In light of these developments, Plaintiffs request that this Court lift its stay
of its July 25, 2014 ruling immediately. Lifting the stay would be consistent with
the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit and district courts in
similar cases in which orders striking down state marriage bans have been
permitted to go into effect while appeals are pending.

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For example, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari
petitions on October 6, 2014 in cases in which the marriage bans in Utah,
Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin had been ruled unconstitutional by
federal appeals courts, see October 6, 2014 Order List, available at
http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/100614zor.pdf (denying review
in Case Nos. 14-124 (Utah); 14-136 (Oklahoma); 14-153, 14-225, and 14-251
(Virginia); 14-277 (Indiana); and 14-278 (Wisconsin)), numerous federal district
courts, as well as the Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits and the U.S.
Supreme Court, have denied or lifted stays in pending litigation in which district
courts have invalidated marriage laws excluding same-sex couples in South
Carolina, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, Kansas, and even Florida.

See Marriage

Litigation, Freedom to Marry, http://www.freedomtomarry.org/litigation/ (last
visited Jan. 2, 2015).
In light of these developments, and especially now that the stay in Brenner
will expire on January 5, 2015, maintaining the stay in this case is no longer
warranted and would have no practical effect other than to cause potential
confusion. In determining whether to vacate a stay, this Court considers two
principal factors: (1) “the likelihood of irreparable harm if the stay is not lifted”;
and (2) “the likelihood of success on the merits by the entity seeking to maintain
the stay.” Tampa Sports Auth. v. Johnston, 914 So. 2d 1076, 1079 (Fla. 2d DCA

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2005). Both of these factors weigh heavily in favor of vacating the stay in this
case.
First, the defendants will not suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a stay,
particularly given that same-sex couples will be marrying in counties throughout
Florida beginning January 6, 2015 in light of Judge Hinkle’s order declaring
Florida’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage to be unenforceable for the
same reasons this Court declared it unenforceable.
Second, the State cannot establish a likelihood of success on appeal. This
Court’s decision that Florida’s marriage ban is unconstitutional is consistent with
Judge Hinkle’s order, the judgments of three Florida circuit courts in addition to
this Court, and the recent holdings of four federal appellate courts regarding other
state’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage. In light of that state-wide
consensus and overwhelming authority from other jurisdictions, the State of
Florida cannot show that is likely to succeed in obtaining a reversal of this Court’s
order on appeal.
CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs respectfully ask this Court to vacate the
stay of its July 25, 2014 ruling immediately in light of the imminent expiration of
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the stay in Brenner and the potential for confusion caused by permitting that stay
to remain in effect.
DATED: January 3, 2015

Respectfully submitted,

Shannon P. Minter
Christopher F. Stoll
David C. Codell
Asaf Orr
NATIONAL CENTER FOR
LESBIAN RIGHTS
870 Market Street, Suite 370
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 365-1335
Facsimile: (415) 392-8442
E-mail:
sminter@nclrights.org
cstoll@nclrights.org
dcodell@nclrights.org
aorr@nclrights.org

s/Nancy J. Faggianelli________________
Sylvia H. Walbolt (Fla. Bar No. 33604)
Luis Prats (Fla. Bar No. 329096)
Nancy J. Faggianelli (Fla. Bar No.
347590)
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT,
P.A.
4221 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Ste. 1000
Tampa, FL 33601
Telephone: (813) 223-7000
Facsimile: (813) 229-4133
Email:
swalbolt@cfjblaw.com
lprats@cfjblaw.com
nfaggianelli@cfjblaw.com

Jeffrey Michael Cohen (Fla. Bar. No.
91495)
Cristina Alonso (Fla. Bar. No. 327580)
Elizabeth Schwartz (Fla. Bar No.
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT,
114855)
P.A.
ELIZABETH F. SCHWARTZ, PA
Miami Tower
690 Lincoln Road, Suite 304
100 Southeast 2nd Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Suite 4200
Telephone: (305) 674-9222
Miami, Florida 33131
Facsimile: (305) 674-9002
Telephone: (305) 530-0050
E-mail: eschwartz@sobelaw.com
Facsimile: (305) 530-0055
Email:
jmcohen@cfjblaw.com
Mary B. Meeks (Fla. Bar No. 769533)
calonso@cfjblaw.com
Mary Meeks, P.A.
P.O. Box 536758
Orlando, Florida 32853
Telephone: (407) 362-7879
Email: marybmeeks@aol.com
Counsel for Plaintiffs

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing was electronically
filed with the Clerk of Court through the Florida Courts eFiling Portal to be served this 3rd day
of January 2015, on counsel of record listed below to:
Luis G. Montaldo
P.O. Box 13267
Miami, FL 33101
E-mail: cocgencounsel@miamidade.gov
Sec. E-mail: larruza@miamidade.gov
Eileen Ball Mehta
BILZIN SUMBERG BAENA PRICE &
AXELROD LLP
1450 Brickell Avenue
Suite 2300
Miami, FL 33131
E-mail: emehta@bilzin.com
Sec. E-mail: eservice@bilzin.com

Allen Winsor
Email: allen.winsor<@mvfloridalegal.com
Adam S. Tanenbaum
Email:adam.tanenbaumadam@myfloridalegal.com
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol - PL 01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

Counsel for Defendant

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SYLVIA H. WALBOLT
E-mail: swalbolt@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: rosborne@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: tpaecf@cfdom.net
LUIS PRATS
E-mail: lprats@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: lcoffey@CFJBlaw.com
NANCY J. FAGGIANELLI
E-mail: nfaggianelli@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: pparrey@CFJBlaw.com
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT, P.A.
Corporate Center Three
at International Plaza
4221 W. Boy Scout Boulevard
Tampa, Florida 33607-5780
Telephone: (813) 223-7000
Facsimile: (813) 229-4133
JEFFREY MICHAEL COHEN
E-mail: jmcohen@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: pwatson@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: miaecf@cfdom.net
CRISTINA ALONSO
E-mail: calonso@CFJBlaw.com
Sec. E-mail: cschmidle@CFJBlaw.com
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT, P.A.
Miami Tower
100 Southeast Second Street
Suite 4200
Miami, Florida 33131
Telephone (305) 530-0050
Facsimile (305) 530-0055

Shannon P. Minter
Christopher F. Stoll
David C. Codell
Asaf Orr
NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS
870 Market Street, Suite 370
San Francisco, CA 94102
E-mail: sminter@nclrights.org
E-mail: cstoll@nclrights.org
E-mail: dcodell@nclrights.org
E-mail: aorr@nclrights.org
Elizabeth F. Schwartz
ELIZABETH F. SCHWARTZ, P.A.
690 Lincoln Road, Suite 304
Miami Beach, FL 33139
E-mail: eschwartz@sobelaw.com
Mary B. Meeks
MARY MEEKS, P.A.
P.O. Box 536758
Orlando, FL 32853
E-mail: marybmeeks@aol.com

Counsel for Plaintiffs
s/Elizabeth Schwartz _________________

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