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Judge overturns Florida's ban on same-sex marriage in the Florida Keys

Florida Circuit Judge overturns gay marriage ban in Florida Keys
Florida Circuit Judge overturns gay marriage ban in Florida Keys
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Libertarians and members of the LGBT community are celebrating today, July 17, 2014, as Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia ruled the 2008 referendum to ban same sex marriage unconstitutional, as it does not offer equal protection under the law. Although libertarians feel the government should not be forcing citizens to ask its permission to marry, for so long as the government does so, it should not be discriminatory. The Monroe County government is expected to begin granting its permission for same sex couples to marry this Tuesday, July 21, 2014.

Six gay couples brought the legal challenge as they were being treated differently under the law than other Floridians. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was fighting the suit and has been staunchly against same-sex marriage. She is up for re-election in November, and will be facing Libertarian Party of Florida candidates Bill Wohlsifer who is a strong proponent of equal rights under the law. On Wohlsifer's campaign website it states "As Attorney General, Bill will seek the governor’s authority to use the holding in Windsor to advocate in court for a finding that ensures that every Florida citizen receives the full protection of our State and Federal Constitutions, by showing that the state’s denial to committed same-sex couples of financial, tax, adoption, property ownership, credit, and other rights to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. Such unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex couples can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution."

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, over 20 lawsuits have been won to end bans of same sex marriage around the nation. Rand Hoch, Florida's first openly- gay judge and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, predicted that marriage equality would come to Florida no later than by the end of June, 2016. It would appear his prediction could be proven true.

What is lost on many supporters of the ban, which included then-Governor Charlie Crist, is that one cannot have mob rule that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution. In 2008, a majority of Floridians voted to enact the ban in the Florida Constitution. Many conservatives are normally on the other side of the argument--except when it comes to gay marriage.