August 4, 2014
A third Florida judge has found the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
The case, from Broward County, involves a woman who is seeking to dissolve her Vermont civil union; Florida’s ban prevents state officials from recognizing legal civil unions and marriages performed outside of the state.
Judge Dale Cohen struck down the ban, writing:
The Court’s decision does not speak to the views of society on traditional beliefs about marriage, religious beliefs about marriage, or morality; the decision is based on legal precedents regarding whether the State of Florida can intrude without a legitimate purpose on the fundamental right to marry and the right to have an out-of-state same-sex civil union recognized. This Court addresses the issues of liberty and equality and finds that without a rational relation to a legitimate state interest, Florida cannot impose inequality under the Constitution.
In its closing paragraphs:
To deny same-sex couples the right to enjoy the same laws, benefits and protections of opposite-sex couples without a rational governmental interest unduly violates their due process rights and their equal protection under the laws. To discriminate based on sexual orientation, to deny families equality, to stigmatize children and spouses, to hold some couples less worthy of legal benefits then others based on their sexual orientation, to deny individuals tax credits, marital property rights, the ability to dissolve their unions from other jurisdictions is against all that this country holds dear, as it denies equal citizenship. Marriage is a well-recognized fundamental right, all people should be entitled to enjoy its benefits.
Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings