Thursday, July 17, 2014

Florida! (part 1)

A judge in Monroe County, Florida has ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Marriage licenses may be issued starting on Tuesday. The ruling applies only to Monroe County, which is made up of the Florida Keys (and the gay hotspot of Key West) and a hunk of the mainland, most of which is in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, so almost nobody lives there.

In a lot of cases interested outside parties will file briefs. These present additional material or reasons why the author believes the judge should rule one way or the other. This ruling is fascinating because the judge cited one of those briefs as evidence that these marriage bans were passed simply because some people just don't like gay people. Animus is not a reason to deny rights.

The Florida AG Pam Bondi has been vocal in how strongly she will defend the marriage ban in this case and the one that will affect the ban across the state. She is now getting criticism that she says her defense will be vigorous but she doesn't appear to be doing a whole lot. Perhaps that is because a majority in Florida want equality.

It seems the only reason the state gave for defending the ban was simple: The state gets to decide the definition of marriage. That hasn't gone over well in other states where it was used.

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