Yesterday, another judge in Florida overturned that state’s ban on same-sex marriage – this time in Miami-Dade County. It is the second such ruling in florida after Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia struck down the ban for the Florida Keys. Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel found the constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008 discriminates against gay people, saying it violates their right to equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. She writes,
Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest. It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.
Garcia’s earlier ruling was put on hold when Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi filed notice of appeal. Zabel also stayed the effect of her ruling indefinitely to allow time for appeals, which could take months, and Bondi promptly followed up Friday by filing an appeal notice in the Miami-Dade case.
Both judges were appointed by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush and have been re-elected.
The legal battleground will next shift to the Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal for both cases, and most likely after that to the state Supreme Court.