Monroe County marriage equality ruling shows right’s true colors
Attorney General Pam Bondi and other religious foes turn ugly, desperate
Published: July 23, 2014
“I’m embarrassed to have a member of the bar write something like this as an excuse to support the bigotry of the voters of Florida. Because in [Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver’s] mind, this court should allow mob rule. If the majority – the one that has the most money, the one that has the most position – don’t like a certain segment of society like our friends over here, they get to rule. And you don’t get to even evaluate whether it’s even constitutional.”
– Elena Vigil-Fariñas, attorney for plaintiffs in the Monroe County marriage equality case, in reference to a graphic description of heterosexual and homosexual sex written by Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver, which he included in his written objection to the court’s ruling.
JUST THE STATS
Number of states in which more than two dozen court rulings have favored marriage equality over same-sex marriage bans; gay marriage is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia
Number of opposite-sex marriages that would be destroyed by the legalization of same-sex marriage in Florida
Estimated total spending on same-sex wedding tourism in Florida in the first three years, should marriage equality prevail in the state; $116.6 million in positive economic impact would come in the first year
Keys to the kingdom
Maybe the double rainbow that loomed over Orlando last week was a sign. On July 17, a Monroe County judge ruled that Florida’s gay-marriage ban is discriminatory, making it legal for gay couples to get married (but only in Monroe County, home of leathery skin, terrifyingly long bridges and the Keys). For a hot minute that afternoon, we all turned into crazy-eyed Rainbow Brite dolls, celebrating the victory. It was just six years ago, after all, that the most conservative and god-fearing interests in the state managed to get 62 percent of the population to vote to enshrine hatred into the state’s constitution via Amendment 2, which banned gay marriage completely. Now, it seems, it’s all gone to the fairies!
Circuit Judge Luis Garcia issued his opinion that plaintiffs (and hot bartenders in love) Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones should be able to get married, basically stating that the state’s marriage amendment was unconstitutional and that it violated the couple’s 14th Amendment rights. Simple. Sweet.
“This 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 the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority,” Garcia wrote in his ruling.
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