US judge strikes down Florida gay mar­riage ban

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

MI­AMI (AP) — A fed­eral judge on Thurs­day de­clared Florida’s ban on same-sex mar­riage un­con­sti­tu­tional, join­ing state judges in four coun­ties who have sided with gay cou­ples wish­ing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hin­kle in Tal­la­has­see ruled that the ban added to Florida’s con­sti­tu­tion by vot­ers in 2008 vi­o­lates the 14th Amend­ment’s guar­an­tees of equal pro­tec­tion and due process. Hin­kle is­sued a stay de­lay­ing the ef­fect of his or­der, mean­ing no mar­riage li­censes will be im­me­di­ately is­sued for gay cou­ples.

Hin­kle, an ap­pointee of Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, com­pared bans on gay mar­riage to the long-aban­doned pro­hi­bi­tions on in­ter­ra­cial mar­riage and pre­dicted both would be viewed by his­tory the same way.

“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,” Hin­kle wrote in a 33-page rul­ing. “To para­phrase a civil rights leader from the age when in­ter­ra­cial mar­riage was struck down, the arc of his­tory is long, but it bends to­ward jus­tice.”

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