Attorneys for Key West couple file motion to vacate stay in same-sex marriage ruling

Appelate court asked to side with judge who ruled in favor of gay couple

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KEY WEST, Fla. - Attorneys for a Key West couple fighting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage have formally asked an appellate court to lift a stay on a Monroe County judge's ruling that overturned the law.

Bernadette Restivo and Elena Vigil-Farinas filed a motion to vacate the stay Wednesday with the Third District Court of Appeal.

READ: Motion To Vacate Stay

Their latest legal move comes a day after their clients, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, were planning to get married on the basis of last week's ruling by Monroe County Judge Luis M. Garcia.

Garcia ruled that a 2008 amendment to the state constitution defining marriage between a man and a woman violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Had the stay been lifted, Huntsman and Jones would have tied the knot at the Monroe County courthouse Tuesday -- the first day same-sex marriage licenses would have been issued in the county, according to the ruling.

However, in the hours after the precedent-setting ruling July 7, Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice to appeal, which prompted an automatic stay.

Restivo and Vigil-Farinas sought an emergency motion to lift the stay, but Garcia denied it.

In their motion to vacate the stay, Restivo and Vigil-Farinas said their clients "and other same-sex couples are being deprived of important constitutional rights" while suffering "irreparable dignitary, legal and economic harms."

"The lower court's ruling was based on a thoughtful and carefully reasoned application of the precedents that control this case and is likely to be affirmed on appeal," they wrote. "The relevant factors are 'overwhelmingly tilted' in favor of vacating the stay."

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