Saturday, July 26, 2014

One Step Closer

Florida edges closer to marriage equality.

Florida Rainbow Flag Mug 07-26-14For the second time in eight days, a South Florida circuit judge has declared the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry.

Late Friday afternoon, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel ordered that six same-sex couples who sued Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin for marriage licenses in January should be allowed to wed.

There will be no weddings yet: In her ruling, Zabel ordered an immediate stay until after the case is appealed.

“To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the … classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law,” Zabel wrote in her order, citing a 1967 Supreme Court ruling that overturned a state ban on interracial marriage.

On July 17, Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia also ruled Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered that two gay Key West men be allowed to marry. That decision has also been stayed and Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones have not yet been allowed to marry in Florida.

The six couples Miami-Dade couples who sued in Zabel’s court are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello of Coconut Grove; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price of Davie; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier of Hollywood; Todd and Jeff Delmay of Hollywood; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber of Plantation; and Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz of Miami.

Both this case and the one in Monroe County are local; they have no impact outside of those counties.  But there is a case pending in Tallahassee that could overturn the ban statewide.  If it does, it will be stayed pending appeal.  That means no weddings just yet.

But we’re getting there.

Read the full ruling here.

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