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Florida Supreme Court Asked To Rule On Constitutionality Of Same-Sex Marriage

FloFlorida’s Second District Court of Appeals has asked the state’s Supreme Court to decide whether the ban on same-sex marriage passed by 62% of Floridian voters in 2008 is unconstitutional, the AP reports. In its decision, the Second District Court urged the higher court to take up the matter due to "great public importance”:

The ruling is connected to a Hillsborough County divorce case involving a same-sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts but since relocated to the Tampa area. Their petition to dissolve their marriage was rejected by a Florida judge who noted that state law does not recognize gay marriage.

"Resolution of the constitutional questions will no doubt impact far more individuals than the two involved here," states the unsigned opinion. "And there can be little doubt that until the constitutional questions are finally resolved by the Florida Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court, there will be a great impact on the proper administration of justice in Florida."

A panel of judges with the Lakeland based appeals court earlier this summer rejected a request to forward the case up the state Supreme Court. But that ruling was overturned in a 10-3 decision by the entire appeals court.

Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage has been overturned on five separate occasions now

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, unswayed by the latest ruling against the marriage ban which came only last week from U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, has stated that she hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will settle the question of gay marriage.


Florida AG Pam Bondi Pledges to Continue Defending Gay Marriage Ban: 'I Am Just Getting Started'

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has responded to yesterday's ruling by a federal judge overturning her state's ban on same-sex marriage, the Sun-Sentinel reports:  

Bondi“We want finality. There are good people on both sides. We want finality. That’s what we need. The U.S. Supreme Court’s going to hear this. They are going to make this determination. And if you hear that I have criticized people personally, I have not. I never will. This is me doing my job as attorney general. And I will continue to do that and if anybody wants me to moderate my message or stand for less I have a message for them: I am just getting started.”

Later, in answering reporters’ questions, this is what she said about the Democratic candidates who would drop the defense of the ban:

“All I’m going to say is I put my hand on a Bible and I raised my right hand and swore to uphold the Constitution of the state of Florida. This was voted into our Florida’s Constitution by 62 percent of the voters not even six years ago....”

Earlier this month, Bondi, citing her desire to "preserve taxpayer and judicial resources" asked state courts to stop considering same-sex marriage cases until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue. 

Bondi is running for re-election this year.


Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida's Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge in Florida has struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the first federal judge to do so.

Four state judges have already issued rulings against Florida's gay marriage ban.

The AP reports:

FloridaU.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.

Hinkle, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, compared bans on gay marriage to the long-abandoned prohibitions on interracial marriage and predicted both would be viewed by history the same way.

"When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination," Hinkle wrote in a 33-page ruling. "To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

Equality on Trial adds that Judge Hinkle has issued a preliminary, statewide injuction preventing the state from enforcing the ban while the case moves forward. The decision is stayed pending Supreme Court action.

Read the ruling below:

Florida Preliminary Injunction via Equality Case Files


Orlando Bans Anti-Trans Discrimination

Orlando City Council

This is some wonderful news, especially out of a place as unexpected as Florida. The Orlando City Council gave its final approval this past Monday to ban discrimination against transfolk, thus placing gender identity in the realm of protected classes alongside race, religion, and orientation. The ban means that someone who identifies as trans may not be denied employment or promotions, public accommodations, service, or prevented from buying or renting a home because of their gender identity. The ordinance was unanimously approved and about ten supporters showed up to speak in favor of the ordinance, while - shockingly (again, this is Florida) - no one spoke up in dissent. Said Mayor Buddy Dyer:

We've gotten to the point where we can do — with very little controversy — things we ought to be doing, so I'm very proud of that.


Florida Pastor Sticks By Decision Canceling Man's Funeral Because He Was Gay: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.33.01 AM

The Tampa pastor who created a firestorm last week after it was revealed he had canceled a man's funeral after discovering the man was gay and married isn't backing away from his actions, saying that the 'trials' his church is facing in the public eye have "come to make us stronger."

Florida station WTSP went to New Hope Missionary Baptist Church service on Sunday to ask Rev. T.W. Jenkins about what happened. The station was initially not allowed into the building, but were permitted to enter at a later time. In the video, Jenkins can bee seen talking about his family's well-being and thanking his congregation for their prayers.

"My family is doing fine," he said to claps from the audience. "Church family please remain focused and prayerful ... and we will continue to stand on the word of God."

The Reverend and church's concern for the family of the gay man? Not so much..

Watch WTSP's reports, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Florida Pastor Sticks By Decision Canceling Man's Funeral Because He Was Gay: VIDEO" »


Florida Church That Cancelled Gay Man's Funeral Receives Swift Internet Backlash

Evans

On Friday, we reported on the small Tampa-area church that hastily cancelled funeral arrangements for Julion Evans last month after discovering he was gay and married to another man. The pastor of the church made the abrupt announcement to Evans' mother the day before the funeral, with the pastor saying it would have been "blasphemous" for a gay man's funeral to take place inside the church. 

Since news broke, the church, New Hope Missionary Baptist, has been forced to take town their website and contact information following a flood of negative comments and reviews.

Included in the set of 281 one-star reviews on Facebook:

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 12.16.13 PMDisgraceful. Utterly disgraceful and unforgivable. There are no "Christians" attending or acting as Pastor at this church. To cancel a man's funeral, simply because you and your "flock" do not agree with or like Homosexuals is beyond evil. A persons life before they have died has no baring on their right to a funeral. Do you refuse to hold funeral services for murderers? Adultors? Unwed mothers? People who have pre-maritial sex? All of these are also "sins" in the Bible but you don't refuse to grant these people a funeral at your church. You are all hypocrites and you disgust me. 
  • Christian = Christ like; There is nothing Christ like about what this Church just did. I am appalled that this should occur in a place were the compassion of Christ should be seen most. Shame on this place!
  • True evil. So glad that I don't call myself a christian anymore, because churches like yours that are so exclusive and show none of God's love.

[via The New Civil Rights Movement]


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