Love Wins Again: Florida Becomes Next Domino To Fall As Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skiesConservatives have once again lost in Florida, and this time it wasn’t a presidential election, but this latest defeat is sending them over the edge.

Across the country, state bans on same-sex marriage have been falling like dominoes. Even bans in deep red states like Oklahoma and Utah have been struck down thanks to the dismantling of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by the Supreme Court. And now, Florida’s own ban has been felled by a circuit court judge six years after voters chose to put the law on the books.

Judge Luis Garcia ordered the County Clerk of Monroe County to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples next Tuesday after he declared Florida’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. In his written decision, Garcia wrote:

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’s ruling only applies to Monroe County since the Florida Keys judge only has jurisdiction there, but conservative bigots are already whining about and challenging the decision since it could pave the way for marriage equality throughout the state.

According to the Miami Herald,

“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 campaign, said he would keep fighting.

“This is an issue worth dying for,” said Stemberger, president and general counsel of the conservative Florida Family Policy Council in Orlando. “Every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.””

In addition, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has already filed a notice of appeal with the Third District Court. So until that court decides otherwise, Garcia’s ruling has been stayed.

Republicans in Florida seem intent on waging a nasty battle in their desperation to discriminate against gay people. Stemberger even went so far as to call the process that led to this ruling “illegitimate.” But conservatives don’t just want to stop gay people from getting married. They want to ban them from entering civil unions, having domestic partnerships, and even living together. Conservatives claim that only states have the right to define marriage. Of course, if that were true, many southern states would still have interracial marriage bans on the books. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled such bans unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. That same case continues to play a pivotal role in the many victories that same-sex couples have been winning across the country.

Marriage equality will be reality throughout the nation in the very near future. A great majority of young Americans support it, and the conservative base that opposes it is disappearing. Every consenting adult in America deserves the right to marry as long as they are marrying another consenting adult. It’s called personal liberty, which Republicans used to consider sacrosanct above all else. Their hatred of homosexuals has helped turn public opinion in favor of equality and compassion. As Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant declared after the ruling came down, “love wins.” And it will continue to do so despite what conservative “Christians” do to stop it.