A Monroe County judge in Florida ruled on Thursday that two Key West bartenders and other gay couples must be allowed to marry. Of course, this means the world is coming to an end.
Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia ordered the county clerk’s office to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as early as Tuesday morning. In doing so, he sided with Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, who argued that the ban on same-sex marriage in the Florida Constitution violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution, The Washington Post reported.
“The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority,” Garcia wrote in his decision.
Garcia’s order would allow same-sex couples from around the state to go to the Keys to get married.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is having none of that. Bondi quickly filed a notice of appeal on Thursday which put Garcia’s ruling on hold.
“With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bondi said in a statement.
Conservative Christian groups vowed to protect Florida’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Huntsman and Jones, who met at a gay pride celebration and have been a couple for 11 years, said, “I can’t believe it finally happened,” said Jones. “Love is love. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy and woman or two women or two men. Love is love.”
It’s worth dying for:
Conservatives say they will do everything they can to make sure the answer remains a resounding “no,” and blasted Garcia’s ruling Thursday as another overreach by an activist judge.
Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition of Florida, called the ruling a “corrupt decision,” and a “judicial lynching of nearly 8 million Florida voters” who voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2008.
John Stemberger, who led that 2008 campaign, said he would keep fighting.
“This is an issue worth dying for,” said Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council in Orlando. “Every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.”
Stemberger said he wasn’t “daunted” by Garcia’s ruling, nor was he surprised.
“The court was very hostile to our position,” he said. “This is a very sad day for Floridians. This is an entirely illegitimate process. The judge had no legal authority in this decision.”
A Christian minister recently knelt down at a strip-mall parking lot, outside a dollar store, beauty salon and pharmacy, then doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire. He spent his life preaching against racism and homophobia while promoting social justice.
What I’m saying is, no one is stopping Stemberger from making a dramatic statement.