Judge rules Florida marriage ban unconstitutional

By : Staff Report
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UPDATE! Florida attorney general Pam Bondi has appealed the Judge Luis Garcia’s decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” reads a statement Bondi’s office released quickly after the ruling. 

See the notice of appeal.

Original story:

A judge in the Florida Keys has overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage after a legal challenge by a Key West gay couple said it effectively made them second-class citizens.

The ruling was issued July 17 by Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia and applies only to Monroe County, which covers the Keys. The lawsuit contended that the same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2008 violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and ban supporters argued that the referendum vote should be respected and that Florida has sole authority to define marriage in the state. The Florida amendment defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

So who will this affect? According to Equality Florida:

This applies to the Clerk in Monroe County. Marriage licenses can be given out in Monroe County but not until July 22nd. You do not need to be a resident of Monroe County to get a license.

This ruling does not affect same-sex out-of-state marriages. They are still unrecognized by the state.

However we do not know at this time, if the state will recognize outside of Monroe County.

There is still no ruling on several other Florida lawsuits fighting for marriage equality. A Miami Dade Circuit Judge heard arguments July 2 in a lawsuit filed by six Miamia Dade same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute. That ruling could come any day.

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