FLORIDA – U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, a Clinton Appointee, ruled that Florida’s statewide ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and said that plaintiffs who filed suit against the state are eligible for preliminary injunction.
Hinkle uses SCOTUS decision from 1967 Loving v Virginia which struck down the ban on interracial marriage, as well as the 2013 Windsor case striking down parts of DOMA.
“Just last year the Court struck down a federal statute that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered into other jurisdictions,” Hinkle writes. “The Florida provisions that prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered elsewhere, like the federal provision, are unconstitutional. So is the Florida ban on entering same-sex marriages.”
The Judge did, however, issue a stay on his ruling until other stays on federal appeals court rulings against same-sex marriage bans in other states are lifted.
Four other judges at the state level have determined Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. First to rule in the Florida Keys was Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia. Two weeks later was Judge Sarah Zabel of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court. Her decision effected Miami-Dade County. In August, Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen struck down the decision in his district determining again that the law was unconstitutional. And one day later in Palm Beach County Judge Diana Lewis made her ruling in Ft. Lauderdale when attempting to resolve an estate of a man who entered into a same-sex marriage.
Each decision has been stayed pending appeal.
Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has been defending the ban on same-sex marriage against other lawsuits, is expecting to appeal the latest decision to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.