Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional By Florida Judge

A Miami-Dade judge declared Florida’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional on Friday, in a sweeping ruling that cut a wide swath through American history — from the Declaration of Independence to slavery to Jim Crow to equality for women — as much as it drew from recent Supreme Court decisions.

Preventing same-sex couples from marrying, Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel said, “serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.”

Zabel became the second South Florida judge in eight days to declare that Florida’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.

Last week, a Keys judge also ruled the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. That ruling was stayed when the state attorney general’s office appealed, and Zabel stayed her own order Friday pending an appeal, saying she understood her decision would not be the “final word” on the issue.

For more on this story, visit Steve Rothaus (The Tampa Bay Times).

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