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Florida Judge Throws Out Same-Sex Marriage Ban

illinois_passes_gay_marriage_law_12_20_13

The ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Florida was thrown out by a judge this week, according to Bloomberg. Judge Luis M. Garcia said on Thursday that the law violates the United States Constitution.

Garcia prevented the clerk of the Monroe County Circuit Court from enforcing the same-sex marriage ban and told her to issue licenses to gay couples. The licenses must be subject to the same restrictions applied to opposite-sex couples. The licenses can begin to be issued on July 22.

The ban was added to the Florida constitution in 2008 by voters. Garcia said that marriage is a fundamental right and it cannot be prohibited by justifying tradition.

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“This court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage,” Judge Garcia wrote. “But it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular, the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority.”

Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi said that she will appeal the ruling of Judge Garcia on Friday.

“With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bondi said in a statement.

Another challenge of the Florida law is pending in Miami-Dade county before a state court judge.

“The issue people are asking about now is if we get a license issued in Monroe County and we take it up to Orlando, will they honor it,” Ron Saunders, an attorney for the clerk, said. “I’d say no. The law is very clear and because of the language there’s no question of the interpretation. It says same-sex marriages will not be recognized.”

Bernadette Restivo is the plaintiff’s attorney for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones.

“It’s clear from the last couple of sentences of the ruling that the judge expects an influx into Monroe County on Tuesday,” she said. “That’s why he gave the clerk time to prepare.”

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