Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; one federal judge and four separate judges in state court have ruled that the amendment is unconstitutional. A stay in a Florida federal ruling is set to expire on January 5, 2015 – unless the U.S. Supreme Court grants an extension of the stay, the freedom to marry should take effect on 1/5.
On August 21, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, the first federal court victory in Florida. On December 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied the state’s request to extend a stay in this ruling, declaring that the stay will be lifted on January 5, 2015. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court grants an extension, the freedom to marry should take effect on January 5 as the appeal proceeds to the 11th Circuit.
The decision followed four previous rulings, beginning with the July 17 decision from Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, who ordered the Monroe County Clerk to stop enforcing Florida’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed, which immediately stayed the ruling. Over the next two weeks, two additional judges – Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel and Broward County Circuit Judge Dale Cohen – also ruled that Florida’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. Read more about marriage litigation in Florida.
As the cases make their way up through the courts, Floridians across the state will continue to do the work of having conversations about why marriage matters and creating a climate for victory.
In 2008, anti-gay forces in Florida pushed through an anti-marriage constitutional amendment that excluded same-sex couples from marriage and prohibited same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status.
Several jurisdictions, including Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, have passed protections for domestic partners.
Voters in Florida are moving on marriage, with a majority of voters (57%) who support the freedom to marry. (Public Religion Research Institute, July 2014)
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Equality Florida is a statewide education and advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, gender and class.
- ACLU of Florida is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:
According to The Williams Institute’s analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 48,496 same-sex couples are living in Florida, representing 6.5 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.