POLITICS

Florida Asks For State Supreme Court To Rule On Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27:  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks during a news conference about the Supreme Court's seco
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks during a news conference about the Supreme Court's second day of hearings on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act March 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. Bondi and 25 other attorneys general brought the case before the Supreme Court. Both Republicans and Democrats paid close attention to the questions and statements by Justice Anthony Kennedy during the court proceedings. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By David Adams

MIAMI, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi requested on Monday that the state Supreme Court be allowed to decide whether same-sex couples can marry within its jurisdiction.

The move marks a change of course after she asked to delay any court decision in Florida until the U.S. Supreme Court decided the constitutional issue.

The Supreme Court last week declined to hear appeals in gay marriage cases in five states, leaving intact regional federal court rulings that had struck down the same-sex bans.

"Florida's citizens need a definitive answer, and they need it sooner rather than later," Bondi, a Republican, wrote in a filing to the state's Third District Court of Appeal.

Bondi asked the Miami court to allow two same-sex marriage cases in south Florida to move to the state Supreme Court.

This summer judges in separate rulings across Florida declared the state's 2008 gay marriage ban unconstitutional. The rulings were stayed pending the outcome of appeals by Bondi, who defended the ban.

The high court decision began a week of legal victories for same-sex marriage that could see such nuptials extended to 35 states.

In Alaska on Monday, officials began accepting marriage license applications from gay couples even as the state sought to challenge a weekend ruling by a federal judge that struck down the state ban.

Equality Florida, a gay rights group, urged Bondi in a statement late on Monday to cease her defense of the ban, saying she was wasting taxpayers' money. (Additional reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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