Florida attorney general appeals marriage equality ruling

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee – The state of Florida is taking the first steps toward overturning a ruling that would allow same-sex marriage to begin in January 2015.

Florida attorney general Pam Bondi filed an appeal Nov. 14 challenging federal Judge Robert Hinkle’s August ruling that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The 56-page brief, filed in the Eleventh Circuit Court argues that Hinkle’s ruling is a violation of states’ rights and that the ban does not violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constution: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Bondi’s appeal also argues that Florida’s laws banning gay marriage do not interfere with basic citizen rights, such as the right to travel. The brief’s final argument states that plaintiffs cannot satisfy the preliminary injunction factors.

“The plaintiffs cannot demonstrate any immediacy to their claims; they allege no harm that cannot await the outcome of the case,” the brief states. “On the other hand, an injunction against democratically enacted legislation prohibits the State from implementing the will of Florida’s voters.”

The appeal states that the case isn’t about whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong – it’s about what the voters decided in 2008 when they approved Amendment 2, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage:

“This case is not about which policy choice is better. It is about whether the voters (and their elected officials) get to decide. As the political debate continues, Florida’s voters may one day decide differently. They may not. But in the meantime, this Court should allow the political process to continue; it should protect the voters’ right to decide. Because the United States Constitution permits the choice Florida’s voters made, this Court should reverse.”

Read the full brief: Nov. 14 appeal by Bondi

“It is now our turn to file our brief making our arguments and responding to the claims made in the state’s brief,” said ACLU spokesman Baylor Johnson.

Their deadline is Dec. 15.



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