In a previous blog, the family law attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville reported about a battle brewing in a Miami-Dade courthouse concerning the constitutionality of Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Since the writing of that blog, a Monroe County judge has ruled Florida’s constitutional ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution and has ordered the Monroe County Clerk’s Office to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Although this ruling only affects Monroe County, many have touted this ruling as the “beginning of the end” of Florida’s gay marriage ban. The same-sex marriage ban was voted into the Florida state constitution in 2008.
Chief Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia stated, “The court is aware that a majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately filed a notice of appeal, putting a stay on the judge’s ruling. Bondi told reporters that the “finality of this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Uncertainty aside, the ruling sparked celebration by same-sex couples and pro-gay marriage groups across the state. The same-sex couple that had sued Monroe County Clerk in April for a marriage license said they were “ecstatic.”
Not surprisingly, conservative groups opposed to same-sex marriage vowed to fight the ruling; some claimed that it was an overreaching “corrupt decision” issued by an activist judge.
Florida Governor Rick Scott was vague on his position concerning the ruling, saying that he supports “traditional marriage” but that he does not believe that “anyone should be discriminated against for any reason.”
Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist said the ruling is “a great step towards equality in Florida.”
The impact of this ruling is huge may change the landscape of family law in Florida. Farah & Farah will naturally be following this story as it progresses. If you have questions concerning your legal rights when it comes to gay marriage or any family law issues in Florida call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online.