US: Arguments heard in Florida same-sex marriage case
Attorneys for six same-sex Florida couples, the state of Florida, and supporters of the state’s current same-sex marriage ban met in court Wednesday in a lawsuit that looks to bring equal marriage to the state.
The six couples’ suit calls the ban discriminatory and states that it violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Attorney Jeffrey Cohen, who represents the six couples, asked Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel to follow the rulings of 21 other cases nationwide that have found similar bans unconstitutional.
Cohen said: “It’s the right of a person to choose who they love and who they make their future with. We should not make anyone a second-class citizen.”
Cohen also noted that Florida allows same-sex couples to adopt but doesn’t allow them to marry, a step that he said legitimates families in the eyes of the law.
Cohen said: “This is not a tolerable situation in today’s world.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi has said that states have the power to define marriage, citing the Supreme Court’s equal marriage decision made last year. She is in support of the ban, stating it is what voters approved in 2008.
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At the hearing Adam Tanenbaum, chief deputy solicitor for the attorney general, said: “Voters in 2008 made a policy decision which they had a right to do. It’s not for this court to second guess or make a determination as whether that was a good policy or bad policy.”
Attorney Matt Staver, who represents groups supporting the ban, asked Zabel to allow time for more evidence to be gathered before she makes her decision. Staver also questioned judges ruling against bans in states around the nation, stating society would not benefit from same-sex marriage.
Staver said: “The optimal environment is the opposite-sex mom and dad. Gender does matter. Without opposite-sex marriage, there is no procreation.”
Though Zabel did not give indication on when she would rule on the case, she did mention the flood of cases nationwide that have ruled bans like Florida’s unconstitutional.
The hearing reportedly drew a massive crowd with those favoring the ban wearing American flag stickers that read “Respect My Vote.”
The most recent same-sex marriage ban to be struck down came when a Kentucky federal judge ruled in favor of marriage equality on Tuesday.
Related topics: Americas, Civil partnerships, equal marriage, Florida, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, Pam Bondi, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, Sarah Zabel, US, wedding