Miami-Dade County Judge Rules Florida’s Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional


A judge in Miami-Dade County has dealt another blow to Florida's ban on gay marriage, NBC South Florida reports:

A Miami-Dade judge has ruled in favor of gay marriage, saying the ban violates the 14th Amendment. The judge said Florida's constitutional ban "offends basic human dignity."

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel has stayed the order, meaning it wouldn't take immediate effect pending an appeal.

Wrote Zabel in the ruling:

In 1776, our Nation's Founders went to war in pursuit of a then-novel, yet noble, goal: the creation of a government that recognizes its people are "endowed . . . with certain inalienable rights" and that all are equal in the eyes of the law. THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, para. 2 (U.S. 1776). Unfortunately, history shows that prejudice corrupted the implementation of these ideals and that the corrective wheels of justice turn at a glacial pace. Slavery, for instance, plagued this nation from the time of its birth, and it took a bloody civil war, nearly one hundred years later, to break free from this malady. Segregation, though, took slavery's place, and it was not until the 1960s that we rid ourselves of this similarly horrible disease. Women too, had to fight for equality, and it was not until 1920 that they were first able to vote. Nevertheless, like race, it was not until the social unrest of the 1960s that gender equality had any meaning. The Native Americans also faced rampant discrimination until the 1960s and 1970s as well.

Notably absent from this protracted march towards social justice was any progress for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community until quite recently. However, as evidenced by the avalanche of court decisions unanimously favoring marriage equality, the dam that was denying justice on this front has been broken. The Court, nonetheless, recognizes that its decision today is divisive and will cause some Floridians great discomfort. This decision, though, "is not made in defiance of the great people of [Florida] or the [Florida] Legislature, but in compliance with the United States Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution." De Leon, 975 F. Supp. 2d at 665-66. …

The ruling:

14-1661 Decision by Equality Case Files

Posted July 25, 2014 at 6:16pm ETC by Andy Towle


  1. Josh says

    @TAD Except for what message this prolonged wave of rulings sends to the public: that anti-marriage laws are a form of legal discrimination with no other purpose than to attack LGBT persons, and that that is impermissible under our Constitution.

  2. says

    Agree @Josh — sorry, my wording was confused. By “they’re very far from meaningless” I meant the 28? now consecutive court victories since Windsor. That’s huge and will live on long after the stays are history.

  3. ben~andy says

    In some states we have a “county by county” strategy it seems. Florida is two down, 65 to go.

    Maybe they’ll have a “Boulder-like” county to issue licenses. Then the screaming will REALLY start!

  4. bicurious says

    I wasn’t certain Anita Bryant was still alive. A google search indicates that she still is. It satisfies me to think of her still being alive to witness marriage equality become the law of the land state by state. That it is getting closer to happening in her own state of Florida is especially satisfying.

  5. RonCharles says

    It is good that these cases are working their way up the Florida state court system first as the US Supreme Court has not intervened in any state supreme court decision in favour of gay marriage. Should the Florida Supreme Court rule for gay marriage, it is nearly certain that Florida will have gay marriage.

  6. johnny says

    Ruling should have said:

    “While the court realizes that this ruling may make some Floridians uncomfortable, the court also must take into account that the ruling has absolutely zero bearing on those Floridians’ lives and therefore cannot have any bearing on this ruling whatsoever. Same-sex marriage – and the benefits that are derived from it – is too important to let the comfort levels of some people bar the overall much improved life quality of those who will feel the impact most, namely gay people, from having the same freedoms as everyone else.”

  7. TheCptNemo says

    Just because the rulings are stayed does not mean they have no effect. While the stay prevents the rulings from taking direct effect they server another important purpose.

    As much as people like to believe the Supreme Court makes decisions only of law in a vacuum its just not true. Popular opinion and the current “thinking” of the land is always a part of a major decision like this.

    So all of these rulings, and the casual response by all but the nutty few serves as a signal to the court where our nation stands. The more we have, and the more joyous responses and especially the more states that just say screw it lets do the marriages the more likely our win at the Supreme Court will be.

  8. Reggie777 says

    Can anyone explain this to me?

    If a judge rules that something is unconstitutional, but allows it to continue, isn’t he/she allowing an unconstitutional situation to continue? And as such, isn’t the judge NOT supporting the Constitution he/she is sworn to uphold? And if they are in violation of their oath, aren’t they then open to being replaced?

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