BREAKING!: FIRST RULING ON GAY MARRIAGE IN FLORIDA JUST ISSUED AND IT’S A GOOD ONE!
We’re still reading through the ins and outs of this, but just now Judge Luis Garcia issued the following order in the Huntsman case in Monroe County. SKIP TO PAGE 13, YOU GUYS. Barring appeal (which, uh, seems likely), this is a serious step, one that effectively allows marriage certificates (thus marriage equality) to be issued to the LGBT community. HELLO, THURSDAY! We’ll update when we know more. Here’s the ruling!
HRC PRESS RELEASE ON THE MATTER:
Florida Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional by State Court
WASHINGTON – Today Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, appointed by Republican Governor Jeb Bush, ruled against Florida’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making the Sunshine State the latest to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June. In Huntsman v. Heavilin, attorneys with the law offices of Restivo, Reilly & Vigil-Fariñas LLC sued the state on behalf of a same-sex couple who argue that Florida’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. In his ruling, Judge Garcia wrote, “This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual.” The ruling was stayed until Tuesday, July 22, at which point same-sex couples in Monroe County can begin obtaining marriage licenses, unless a stay is requested by the state attorney general and granted by the state court of appeals or Florida Supreme Court.
“Today’s court ruling in Florida is further proof that America is ready for marriage equality nationwide,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Unfortunately, same-sex couples in a majority of states still don’t have the right to marry, creating a confusing patchwork of marriage laws across the country. This is not only unsustainable, but it’s also unconstitutional.”
There are over 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 30 of the 31 states where such a ban exists, plus Puerto Rico. Cases from twelve states are currently pending before six federal appeals courts. The Sixth Circuit holds the distinction of being the only federal appeals court to date that will consider marriage cases from all states within its jurisdiction. In total, 33 states either have marriage equality or have seen state marriage bans struck down as unconstitutional in court. Since the Supreme Court’s historic marriage rulings last year, there have been 16 consecutive federal court decisions that bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional. These rulings have come from judges appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents.
Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 points increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins. And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group. According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality. 40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent,according to the New York Times. These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.
Same-sex couples can legally marry in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, while 31 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. Learn more about this and other marriage equality cases at www.americansformarriageequality.org
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Update! Here’s Charlie Crist’s statement:
Statement from Charlie Crist, the People’s Governor, regarding Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia’s Ruling Overturning Florida’s Gay Marriage Ban:
“Today was a great step towards equality in Florida. It is my hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will accept the decision of the judge and allow all Florida adults to marry the person they love.”
According to the Florida Democratic Party, Pam Bondi has already filed an appeal. Bless her heart.
AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM STATE REP. JOE SAUNDERS! (Even if Bondi has already crossed over)
REP. JOE SAUNDERS APPLAUDS MONROE COURT MARRIAGE RULING
CALLS ON ATTORNEY GENERAL BONDI TO STAND ON RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY
ORLANDO, FL – In the wake of today’s Monroe Circuit Court ruling on the constitutionality of Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando), one of Florida’s first openly gay state lawmakers praised the decision as a historic step forward while issuing a reminder to supporters that what happens in the next few days is crucial.
Rep. Saunders offered the following statement, “Judge Garcia’s ruling to strike down Florida’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage should be commemorated as a historic leap forward for the rights of LGBT people in our state. Florida’s constitutional amendment which discriminates against LGBT couples has been struck down and the focus should now turn to Pam Bondi.”
“Attorney General Pam Bondi has an opportunity to do the right thing and choose to stand with LGBT couples in Monroe County. A majority of Floridians support sharing marriage with committed LGBT couples. I’m asking Attorney General Bondi to get on the right side of history and side with equality. There are couples in Monroe County who desperately need the protections marriage can offer and who deserve access to the dignity and responsibilities of full citizenship. Please do not ask for a stay on this ruling. Allow couples to marry and use your power as Attorney General to recognize these marriages. It’s the right thing to do.”
In 2014, Rep. Saunders introduced The Competitive Workforce Act (HB 239), which would ban discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations and housing against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The bi-partisan measure has received widespread attention and support with thirty-six co-sponsors including 10 House Republicans. He is a leading voice in the legislature for equality, fairness and equal opportunity.