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Saturday, 19 July 2014 06:53

Gay marriage, equality + fairness

Written by  Tampa Bay Times

Gay Marriage and FL Attorney General Pam Bondi: issue of 'equality and fundamental fairness'

Tampa Bay Times editorial: Big step toward marriage equality
July 17, 2014

Florida is a significant step closer to treating all loving couples equally. A Monroe County circuit judge's decision Thursday to overturn the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage is a milestone victory for equality and fairness. Now the appellate courts should move quickly to affirm the decision so it can apply statewide, and Attorney General Pam Bondi should not keep standing in the way.

The ruling by Circuit Judge Luis Garcia was predictable and applies only to Monroe County. But it follows nearly two dozen similar decisions in state and federal courts nationwide since June 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court found portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Same-sex couples can marry legally now in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and Florida should join them as soon as possible.

Bondi argued that the gay marriage ban in the Florida Constitution should be upheld because it was approved by voters in 2008, and she contended only the state can define marriage. But Garcia rejected that discredited argument and echoed the opinions of other judges around the country that the same-sex marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.

This is an issue of equality and fundamental fairness. As the judge noted, same-sex couples do not enjoy the same advantages as married couples because their relationship is not recognized by Florida law. He wrote that same-sex couples have a harder time making health care decisions for the other spouse, do not have the same rights to equitable distribution of property if they break up, and lose many other state and federal benefits of being legally married. ...



Last modified on Sunday, 03 August 2014 16:33
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