Florida Same-Sex Marriage Ban Overturned

Last week, a state judge in Florida overturned that state’s ban on same-sex marriage and the reaction from the Christian right was exactly what you would expect. The judge’s jurisdiction includes the Florida Keys, which seems entirely appropriate.

Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia said same-sex couples could get marriage licenses as early as Tuesday in Monroe County, but Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi said the voters’ will must be respected. An overwhelming majority approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 that defines marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman. Her notice of appeal creates an automatic stay that prevents any same-sex marriage licenses from being issued, her office said.

Garcia, appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush in 2000 and re-elected twice since then, invoked other moments in American history when the courts had to guarantee the civil rights of minorities. He said Florida’s ban violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

“The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but 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,” Garcia wrote.

“When Nazi supremacists won the right to march in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood; or when a black woman wanted to marry a white man in Virginia; or when black children wanted to go to an all-white school, the Constitution guarantees and protects ALL of its citizens from government interference with those rights,” he added.

The reaction from John Stemberger, a particularly extreme anti-gay bigot even by Christian right standards, is precious:

John Stemberger, who led that 2008 campaign, said he would keep fighting.

“This is an issue worth dying for,” said Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council in Orlando. “Every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.”

An issue worth dying for? Well, a priest in France killed himself on the altar of a cathedral a couple years ago over this same issue. And a couple weeks ago, a pastor set himself on fire to protest the treatment of child refugees at the border. There’s nothing stopping you from following their examples. You won’t, of course, nor should you. You’ll just keep screaming non-sequiturs about how we “can’t have civilization without natural marriage,” as though someone was doing away with “natural marriage.” And in another few years, same-sex marriage will be legal and normalized nationwide. And a few years after that, everyone will be used to it and you’ll either shut up about it or become so marginalized that no one pays attention to you.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Chiroptera

    “This is an issue worth dying for,” said Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council in Orlando.

    “Or, to be precise, an issue worth other people to die for. Or, actually, an issue worth sending me lots and lots of money.”

  • lldayo

    And a few years after that, everyone will be used to it and you’ll either shut up about it or become so marginalized that no one pays attention to you.

    Or claim it was his idea all along and that whomever says different is a Gay Muslim Socialist Nazi bent on trying to push the Straight Agenda.

  • gshelley

    The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage.

    Not that it is relavent (except long term), but this probably isn’t true any more. Florida might not yet be over 50%, but recent polls suggest more people in favour than opposed (with around 10% apparently not really having any sort of opinion)

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    “This is an issue worth dying for”

    Seeya, then. What an idiot. As Miles Vorkosigan says, “the problem with ‘death before dishonor’ is that it divides the world into the dead and the forsworn.”

    Speaking of which, how’s The Nuge doing? Is old poopy pants still alive and out of prison?

  • dobby

    Off topic but related, the National Organization “for” Marriage doesn’t know where the term “rational basis” comes from or what it means. How is this even possible? (May they cannot afford a Goggle search because they are begging for money.):

    http://www.nomblog.com/39541/

  • http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com/ Quodlibet

    “Every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.”

    I have yet to see any evidence to support this assertion. In fact, my own experience would argue to the contrary! As a long-married cis-person, I took for granted my right to marry the person of my choice, until the marriage equality movement opened my eyes to the fact that I had been enjoying a privilege reserved for heterosexuals. It is clear and blatant discrimination. Marriage equality for all strengthens and affirms my right to marry the person of my choice, too! And having attended more same-sex marriages than hetero marriages recently (hmm, interesting anecdata!), what I see around me is that same-sex couples are forming stable, happy homes and families. Isn’t this supposed to be a good thing for society? Yes, of course. Mr Quodlibet and I know and socialize with many same-sex couples, and so far the gay hasn’t rubbed off on us and made us abandon our marriage. *eyeroll*

  • John Pieret

    set himself on fire to protest

    I know this is very bad of me but … Mr. Stemberger, can I lend you a match?

  • colnago80

    Re John Pieret @ #7

    And a container of gasoline.

  • eric

    . “Every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.”

    The day you pass a law preventing hetero couples from cohabiting, I’ll believe you’re sincere. Until then, not so much.

  • Big Boppa

    John Stemberger, who led that 2008 campaign, said he would keep fighting.

    “This is an issue worth dying for,”

    From your mouth to the FSM’s orecchiette, you douchebag.

  • dugglebogey

    I recommend a hunger strike.

    Anything that keeps his mouth shut.

  • vereverum

    “This is an issue worth dying for,” said Stemberger

    Talk is cheap.

    From Wikipedia article on self-immolation:

    “In June of 2014, Reverend Charles Moore poured gasoline over his body and set himself on fire in a strip mall parking lot near Dallas to protest LGBT discrimination. He died upon arrival at a hospital in Dallas.[32]” The note is a link to a lengthy article at dallasnews.com.

    Rev. Moore, United Methodist, had been an activist for a long time.

    Still, even the Buddhists say the practice is contraindicated.

  • vereverum

    @ dugglebogey #11

    Rev. Moore did a hunger strike in 1995 during a meeting of the United Methodist bishops and ended it when

    the bishops issued a statement that acknowledged their role in contributing to the the stigma and ostracism of gays and lesbians and encouraged Methodist churches to welcome them.

    This is from the article on dallasnews.com

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20140711-in-dying-act-minister-hoped-to-inspire-social-justice.ece

    Mr. Stemberger could try a hunger strike and see if anyone cared.


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