A judge in the Florida Keys overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday after a legal challenge by gay couples said it effectively made them second-class citizens.
The ruling by Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia applies only to Monroe County, which primarily consists of the Keys, and will certainly be appealed. The lawsuit contended that the same-sex marriage ban approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2008 violated the federal 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The judge, who was appointed by then-Governor Jeb Bush in 2000 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008, said licenses could not be issued until Tuesday at the earliest.
Here is a running compilation of reaction to Judge Garcia’s ruling:
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson:
“We’ll see whether the state appeals. Meantime, as I’ve said, I believe it’s wrong to discriminate against any class of people including on civil marriage.”
Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist:
“Today was a great step towards equality in Florida. It is my hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will accept the decision of the judge and allow all Florida adults to marry the person they love.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant:
“As we have seen time and time again over the last few months, when marriage equality bans are challenged in the courts, love wins. This is a tremendous victory for LGBT Floridians in Monroe County, and we look forward to soon celebrating full marriage equality across the state.”
Florida House Minority Leader Perry Thurston:
“Today is a great day for equality. I am thrilled by the decision of Judge Garcia and for LGBT couples in Monroe County. It is yet another reason for Pam Bondi to drop her ridiculous defense of this unconstitutional law like red and blue state Attorneys General across the country. It is time stop wasting taxpayer dollars on her ideological crusade and stand up for the rights of all citizens.”
State Representative Joe Saunders:
“Judge Garcia’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. Florida’s constitutional amendment which discriminates against LGBT couples has been struck down and the focus should now turn to Pam Bondi.”
“Attorney General Pam Bondi has an opportunity to do the right thing and choose to stand with LGBT couples in Monroe County. A majority of Floridians support sharing marriage with committed LGBT couples. I’m asking Attorney General Bondi to get on the right side of history and side with equality. There are couples in Monroe County who desperately need the protections marriage can offer and who deserve access to the dignity and responsibilities of full citizenship. Please do not ask for a stay on this ruling. Allow couples to marry and use your power as Attorney General to recognize these marriages. It’s the right thing to do.”
ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley:
“The ruling today is an important victory for thousands of loving couples in Florida.
“This is the beginning of the end of the marriage ban and of marriage discrimination in Florida. We congratulate Aaron and William on this important victory and look forward to celebrating the day that all Floridians can have their marriage to the person they love be honored by the state they call home.”
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry:
“Like an unprecedented wave of state and federal courts across the country this past year, Judge Garcia did the right thing in affirming that committed same-sex couples share in the precious constitutional freedom to marry the person we love. Florida’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect – just what the freedom to marry is all about. We can now add Florida’s voice to the urgent need for the Supreme Court to take a freedom to marry case and bring the entire country to national resolution, ending marriage discrimination across America.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.