Compilation of reactions to federal judge declaring Fla. gay marriage ban unconstitutional

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A federal judge on Thursday declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining state judges in four counties who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida’s constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

Here is a compilation of reactions to Judge Hinkle’s order:

Representative Joe Saunders:

“Judge Hinkle’s ruling to strike down Florida’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage should be commemorated as a historic leap forward for the rights of LGBT people in our state. For the 5th time this year, Florida’s ban on marriage equality has been struck down by a Florida court and the focus should now turn to Governor Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“A majority of Floridians support sharing marriage with committed LGBT couples. Attorney General Bondi should stop appealing these rulings and get on the right side of history. Governor Scott should lead where Attorney General Bondi will not. Florida’s leaders should make clear that every family is valued. Every day that this ban stays in place is one more day LGBT families and their children are harmed.”

Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith:

“Moments ago, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that Florida’s discriminatory state ban excluding same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. The ruling has already been stayed, meaning that any decision won’t go into effect immediately.

“Today is the 5th consecutive victory in Florida and leaves no doubt that this ban serves no purpose but to harm gay couples and their children. We applaud Judge Hinkle for his decision and we call on Governor Scott to lead where Attorney General Pam Bondi has failed.

“Florida put this discriminatory ban in place and Florida should end it. Our families have waited too long already. We call on Governor Scott to join us in urging the Florida Supreme Court to take up this issue immediately.

“In total, 38 rulings since last year’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor have found that state bans on marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional, including two rulings by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Colorado.

“We are asking Floridians to call Governor Rick Scott today at (850) 488-7146 and tell him to make clear where he stands by joining our call to end this discriminatory ban once for all.”

Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“We are sadly disappointed by the court’s decision to reject marriage as the union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife. The decision fails to adequately consider that marriage unites a man and a woman with any children born from their union and protects a child’s right to both a mother and a father.

“Our affirmation of marriage between a man and a woman is not motivated by unjust discrimination or animosity toward anyone. Human dignity is manifested in all persons; and all have the capacity for and are deserving of love. This is especially true of children, who should be given the opportunity, to the greatest extent possible, to be raised and loved by the mother and father who conceived them.

“Only the union of a man and a woman in and of itself can bring forth children and thus is the very origin of society. With its unique beauty and goodness revealed, the public has a worthy interest in protecting this institution in law as a means to ensure humanity is both nurtured and strengthened.

“The judge’s ruling negates marriage as identified in our state constitution and approved by nearly 62% of the electorate in a 2008 ballot initiative. Despite this decision, we will continue to promote the truth of marriage, its foundational significance to society, and its importance to children. We are hopeful that ultimately the courts will recognize the true nature and meaning of marriage.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.