Gay marriage proponents urge attorney general to drop appeal

7K petitions delivered to Attorney General Pam Bondi

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A half-dozen couples who were married in other states, or who want to be married in Florida, are asking Attorney General Pam Bondi to drop her appeal of last week's court ruling that found the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. However, Bondi is likely to keep pushing the courts to recognize the ban.

Unless the Protection of Marriage Act in the Constitution is ruled unconstitutional under federal law, changing it would require 60 percent of the electorate.

One week to the day since a judge ruled Florida's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, a half-dozen couples delivered 7,000 petitions to the attorney general asking her to drop her appeal of the decision.

"We live here. We've been here our entire lives (and) we want to get married with our friends and family," said Nancy Brown, a gay rights activist.

Several of the couples have been married 30 years or longer.

"We've been together 40 years," Brown said.

Still, they said they want their union recognized by their home state.

"We want to be recognized as citizens of Florida," said Sheila Ortiz Taylor, who got married to her partner, Joy Lyn Lewis, in California.

"It's very simple. It's not complicated at all," Lewis said.

As the group posed for pictures at the state Capitol, the language of the state Constitution over their shoulders guaranteed equal civil and political rights to all.

"Well, they shouldn't be hollow words. Equal rights should be afforded to all people who choose to get married," said gay marriage proponent Robin Gray.

The attorney general has said in court filings that voters had the right to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and she said they have the right to change it in the future if they want.

Chris and Sean Cooley, who have been together for five years, said they believe that change is inevitable.

"We shouldn't have to be tied down by legal loopholes or an appeal from the attorney general for us to be able to start a family," Sean Cooley said.

The Protection of Marriage Act was approved by 4.8 million voters in 2008.

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