Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida’s Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Ban as Unconstitutional

two menTALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge nominated by Bill Clinton has declared unconstitutional Florida’s state marriage amendment, which enshrined marriage as being solely between a man and woman.

“When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” wrote U.S District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee on Thursday. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”

The case had been filed after 22 homosexuals in the state, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sought to either obtain marriage licences or have nuptials from other states recognized in Florida. As previously reported, Florida’s constitutional amendment barring the recognition of homosexual unions passed during November 2008 election. It was approved by 61.9 percent of the vote.

“Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized,” the amendment reads.

But Judge Hinkle compared uniting those of the same sex with men and women of different racial backgrounds being married, and said that society must tolerate that with which they disagree.

“The institution of marriage survived when bans on interracial marriage were struck down, and the institution will survive when bans on same-sex marriage are struck down,” he stated. “Liberty, tolerance, and respect are not zero-sum concepts. Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage. Tolerating views with which one disagrees is a hallmark of civilized society.”

He declared Florida’s marriage amendment a violation of the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses.

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But John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council, a Christian organization in the state, said that even nature itself shows that man was meant to be complemented in marriage by the woman.

“People ask me, ‘Are you on the wrong side of history?’ To me, this issue will never be on the wrong side of history because it’s rooted in the human experience,” he told the News Service of Florida following the ruling.

“A little boy who longs to have a father in the inner city—that will never be on the wrong side of history,” he said. “The little girl who has two dads and doesn’t have a mom and she wants someone to guide her through the changes that a woman’s body goes through—that’s never going to be on the wrong side of history. And the beauty of how a man and woman come together and life is born, that’s never going to be on the wrong side of history.”

Hinkle stayed his ruling pending appeal. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says that the matter will likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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  • Deborah Solesky

    Hmmm let me see. Twenty-two couples vs over 60% of the population of Florida. Seems the vote and the will of the people doesn’t matter any more if a judge can arbitrarily strike it down.

    • Matt Fields

      Hmmm let me see. As of 2011 67% of Florida voters SUPPORT same sex marriage. So, 22 couples and 67% of Floridians are against your archaic views and cherry picked facts from 2008. If you’re going to blindly believe everything that you read then maybe you should at least read more current information.

    • The Road from Damascus

      Deborah, we don’t vote on human rights issues, don’t you know that? Otherwise we’d live in a country where the minority would have no rights at all. Didn’t you take a civics class in college? We live in a republic, not a ‘true’ democracy. Tell me this, if 99% of the country wanted to reinstate slavery, should we do it?

      Most high school grads are aware of this…. they understand that our government is set up to protect the minority, not to bow to the will of the majority. Did you sleep through this lesson in school, or is it more likely your distaste for those who are different from you is so overarching that you’ll do and say anything to make yourself feel “righteous” while your fellow Americans have to fight against YOU for the rights the rest of us take for granted?

      BTW, a biblical defense is worthless on this issue. Christianity is your religion, it is not our government. If being gay is legal (it is btw), then there can be no justification for preventing gays from having any right or freedom anybody else has. Remember, gays are a ‘protected class’, which is why gay marriage will be legal in all 50 states within a decade. I suggest you find a way to come to terms with it. You don’t have to like it, but you are PREVENTED BY LAW from withholding any rights from any protected class, regardless of you deeply-held hatred, um… I mean deeply held religious beliefs.

  • Rob

    Attempting to Equally Compare “Interracial Marriages” with same sex marriages of men with men and/or Lesbians with same sex Marriages is LIKE comparing BEANS with CABBAGE…. It’s Just “IMPOSSIBLE” and NEVER going to be the SAME !!

  • Michael Brits

    It amazes me that a jugde could argue in this way. Maybe 50 years from now, when he look back, he will wonder how did he end up in hell…, and not even the name Clinton will save you…

    • Steve


  • Rob

    Every single person already has the right to marry: every single man can marry one woman and every single woman can marry one right. If someone does not WANT that right, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right and it also does not mean they can get the government to give them SPECIAL rights that NO one has.

    Also, to get the government to redefine religious terms, then pass laws to establish this new state religion is a violation of the establishment clause.

    They can only offer legal contracts after the fact of marriage – they cannot redefine what God defined.

    • Matt Fields

      In what way is the government which regulates marriage as a civil matter, not a religious matter, establishing a new religion? Why don’t you just say what you mean — You don’t like the idea of gay marriage. You wish that religion could still dictate state policy because you hate the idea of separation of church and state. You want to impose your beliefs on everybody else because you think that gays are icky. Grow up please.

      • Rob

        Regulating what religion defined by offering a legal contract with legal benefits and protections is far different from passing laws to flat out REDEFINE marriage instead. No, I don’t like the idea of marriage being anything besides what God defined it: ONE man and ONE woman. You have that right – everyone does. Don’t want that right? Fine. But don’t pretend not wanting that right is the same as being denied. You want a SPECIAL right and then pretend you’re being discriminated against if you can’t have that SPECIAL right that NO ONE has.

        You want to impose your religion with its own version of marriage on everyone else by force of law.

        I think professing homosexuals are icky? Why must you use false claims to try justifying your position? I’m standing up to attempts to legally redefine marriage – it’s a religious institution created by God, not man and not a country.