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Breaking news: Federal judge strikes down Florida’s gay-marriage ban

August 21, 2014
By
via Sun-Sentinel

via Sun-Sentinel

The News Service of Florida reports:

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle on Thursday struck down Florida’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The 33-page decision followed similar rulings by state-court judges in South Florida. Hinkle placed a stay on the ruling. The News Service of Florida will have a full report later Thursday.

The ACLU has the full text of the ruling up as a PDF on its website. ON PAGE 15, AG PAM BONDI (AND GOV. RICK SCOTT) ARE CALLED “REDUNDANT” DEFENDANTS. UH-OH.

And here is the ACLU press release. Happy day!

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, a federal district court judge in Tallahassee held that Florida’s discriminatory marriage ban cannot be enforced in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. The ruling applies both to the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Florida and the recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples performed outside of the state.

The judge’s ruling comes as a result of two separate lawsuits including one brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida. The ACLU of Florida’s lawsuit challenges the ban on marriage recognition on behalf of eight married same-sex couples, a Ft. Myers woman whose wife recently passed away, and SAVE, the largest LGBT-rights organization in South Florida. The lawsuit with which the ACLU of Florida’s lawsuit has been consolidated was filed by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Samuel Jacobson on behalf of two couples—one seeking to get married and another seeking to have their marriage recognized in Florida.

“I am overjoyed that the state we made our home in will soon recognize that what Carol and I had was marriage,” stated Arlene Goldberg of Ft. Myers, a plaintiff whose wife and partner of 47 years, Carol Goldwasser, passed away.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle held that by denying the plaintiffs fundamental right to marry, Florida’s marriage ban violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He also held that the state’s rationale for denying recognition of the marriages not only had no rational basis, but would fail even a higher level of scrutiny, stating that “[t]he undeniable truth is that the Florida ban on same-sex marriage stems entirely, or almost entirely, from moral disapproval of the practice,” and that “moral disapproval alone cannot sustain” a ban restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

From the judge’s decision:

“Liberty, tolerance, and respect are not zero-sum concepts. Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage.”

“We are thrilled that these loving and committed couples will soon have the same protections and security for their families that other married couples have,” stated Daniel Tilley, the ACLU of Florida’s staff attorney for LGBT rights. “Florida’s refusal to recognize their marriages serves no legitimate purpose and is hurtful to Florida families. We’re very pleased to see the ban held unconstitutional in such unequivocal terms so that all Florida families will soon finally have the same protections.”

“SAVE is pleased as a plaintiff in the ACLU’s marriage recognition lawsuit to have received a favorable ruling in court today,” stated SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima. “While we are overjoyed that the judge erred on the side of fairness by ordering the state of Florida recognize the legal marriages of the plaintiffs, we will continue to make the case that it is Florida’s responsibility to recognize the legal marriages of ALL same-sex couples, and not only those named as plaintiffs in our suit. SAVE will continue to advocate for a pro-equality ruling as the court examines the case further in the weeks and months ahead.”

The case was brought against Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and other state officials. Florida is now the 16th state in which a federal court has struck down a marriage ban as unconstitutional since the ACLU’s victory in U.S. v. Windsor, in which the Supreme Court struck down the main provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The plaintiffs in the ACLU of Florida’s case are represented by attorneys for the ACLU and the ACLU of Florida, as well as Stephen Rosenthal of the Podhurst Orseck law firm.

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  • Leslie Gray

    TIMBER!!!

  • Jim Bart

    Another victory for satan and his little minions. It will be short lived.. Judgement is coming.

  • Leslie Gray

    And you should be prepared to answer for all of your hatred and mistreatment of others.

  • Jim Bart

    Your a little confused there Les. When Christ comes back to judge the world for all their wicked, it will be as in the days of Lot and as the days of Noah. The whole world will be filled with evil. So the world is suppose to get worse, like it is. And because You believed the Lie, from satan, God will give you over to a reprobate mind. It’s all in the book. Right on track, prepare to be judged. Warning is not hating, do you warn a child running into a street because you hate them? we are suppose to warn. But you are not to cause one of Gods children to stumble… You will be judged for that too. Get a thicker skin if you want to be a reprobate, you should be use to it by now. When you behave in a manner contrary to how God created you, even your so called supporters think it’s disgusting, even if they don’t tell you face to face. We will never go away, right to the very end. We will inherent the earth. The same day Christ comes back for us He will punish you. Repent, before it’s to late. There is not much time left. P.S. Blacks are not reprobates, you are comparing apples to oranges. There is no comparison to segregation and a a homo. You should be ashamed of yourself comparing your willfully sinning lifestyle to a black’s wrongful past.

  • Leslie Gray

    You are the one judging me for the condition of my birth and calling me a sinner. You are the one advocating the withholding of medical treatment, legal protection in employment, housing, domestic relations, and christian compassion. You are the one appointing yourself judge, jury and executioner for hundreds of thousands of people whose only crime/sin comes from the way they were born.

    For you, it absolutely MUST be about choice. For you, every gay and transgender person MUST be guilty of choosing to be as they are, or it wouldn’t be a sin for them to live as they do. As I do. You NEED us to be guilty of making a conscious choice to go against nature, as you put it.

    You need us to be guilty so badly that you are willing to blind yourself to the possibility that modern science has found answers to the problems we as a community have been coping with since the dawn of time. Your needs have you trapped in a vicious circle of self inflicted hate and denial. What will you do if you’re the one in the wrong?

    After all, doesn’t your bible say something about the way you treat strangers in need? Matthew 25: 44-45 “44”Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45″Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'”

    If I were you, I’d be more worried about my own future than that of a strange you choose to disapprove of.

    I can refer to the advancements of science to back up every claim I have made. Science was created to answer the questions of the mysteries of the life god created. All you have are your opinions and the condemnation you heap on those you choose to dislike. To me, it looks as though you are on shaky ground.

  • Jim Bart

    I am not judging you silly, the word of God says, you already judged yourself. You fail to recognize, Modern science has proved there are NO gay genes, so to say you were born that way is denying your own so called proof and evidence. Just take responsibly for your own actions and stop crying and blaming your life’s choices on God. He didn’t make you gay any more than He makes a thief steal.

  • Leslie Gray

    Yes, you are judging me. Just like this silly paper is doing by deleting the evidence I posted for you. I think you know what you can do with your notions of self righteousness.

  • OWeditor

    settle down there, leslie. it wasn’t deleted. the comment software thinks you’re trying to spam us because you posted so many links. so it would not load your comment. i just manually uploaded it for you.

  • Jim Bart

    You have posted no evidence. I saw every post you made and they are all still here. So you have nothing. Man are you gays thin skinned. Its okay for you to tell others how to think what to say and how to treat others, but God forbid any one says anything against your gayness. Once again, you are mixing up judging with warning. And I will warn until the day I leave this earth, but you will be judged by God himself. When he is done with you, you will wish I was the one judging. I am warning you, buy the age of grace is running out. By self-righteous you mean,confident of one’s own righteousness, you are darn right, and intolerant of the behavior of others, only ones who parade around half naked in front of little children or tell me I have to bake a cake for their wedding. Well, I don’t think so, never happen. You want to be an abomination to the world, do it in your own house.

  • Leslie Gray

    Seems the editor posted my comment for me after my protest. Feast your eyes on the evidence you claim does not exist. You and your religion have no right at all to shape the laws of this nation, any state, county, country club, or business in this nation.

  • Leslie Gray

    I apologize for the loss of my temper. But, there is a practice of deleting scientific evidence from media with a conservative interest. I, like the rest of the members of the gay and transgender community are fighting for our basic civil rights. We need to be able to prove to narrow minded people that there really is evidence to back the claims we’re making.

    We really do have the science to prove we were born this way. And, as long as sites like this one delete our evidence without telling us that we’ve posted too much, we think our posts have been taken down because the moderator didn’t want it to be seen.

    You know…censorship.

  • Ramon F Herrera

    I need your help. I’m a 26-year-old gay male and I’ve been
    dating this great guy for a few months. Our sex life is really
    satisfying/fun/adventurous, due in no small part to the fact that he has
    a lot of kinks. He has a thing for scat, though, and that has thrown me
    for a loop. He doesn’t expect me to engage in poop play, but I know he
    watches this kind of porn sometimes and it freaks me out. Would you
    break up with someone due to one extremely freaky kink?