July 17, 2014
Big news out of Florida today, where a state judge overturned the state’s constitutional ban on marriage equality. The AP reports:
The ruling was issued Thursday 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. The judge says licenses could be issued starting Tuesday.
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.
Under Garcia’s decision, same-sex couples will not be able to obtain licenses until July 22, and until it is reviewed by a state appeals court, the ruling applies only to Monroe County. Two other courts in the state are also currently considering marriage equality cases and could issue rulings soon. On July 2, a judge in Miami-Dade county heard arguments made by lawyers for six same-sex couples living in that county, and a federal district court judge in Tallahassee is considering arguments as well.
Florida’s marriage equality ban passed in 2008 and banned both marriages and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Update (3:45 p.m.): Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed Judge Garcia’s decision, and will likely seek a stay pending appeal to ensure no marriages take place.