From Freedom To Marry:
Today, July 17, a judge in state court struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, marking the 25th consecutive ruling in favor of the freedom to marry (with no rulings against) since June 2013. See all of the marriage wins in court here.You can read the opinion here.
Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ordered the Monroe County Clerk to stop enforcing Florida's anti-marriage constitutional amendment, saying that marriage licenses should begin being issued in Monroe County on July 22.
The judge writes in his ruling:
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. ... The Constitution guarantees and protects all of its citizens from government interference with those rights. All laws passed by the legislature or by popular support must pass the scrutiny of the United States Constitution, to do otherwise diminishes the Constitution to just a historical piece of paper.
Notably, Judge Garcia was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican. Judge Garcia was then reelected in 2002 and 2008.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson applauded the ruling today. He said:
Like an unprecedented wave of state and federal courts across the country this past year, Judge Garcia did the right thing in affirming that committed same-sex couples share in the precious constitutional freedom to marry the person we love. Florida’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect – just what the freedom to marry is all about. We can now add Florida’s voice to the urgent need for the Supreme Court to take a freedom to marry case and bring the entire country to national resolution, ending marriage discrimination across America.
AG Pam Bondi just appealed the Monroe County case for marriage equality.— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) July 17, 2014
The AG has filed notice of appeal, which automatically stays the decision. No wedding bells just yet. #eqfl— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) July 17, 2014