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Florida: Recognition of same-sex marriages

Part 5: Recent polling data on same-sex
marriage in Florida. List of active lawsuits.
Attorney General fights marriage equality.
Briefs filed in favor of marriage equality

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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wedding rings2013-DEC to 2014-APR: Public opinion polls in Florida on same-sex marriage:

All three polls in the four months between 2013-DEC and 2014-APR showed a plurality in favor of making marriage available to same-sex couples. In two of the polls, the margins were over 16 percentage points. There is no obvious reason for the low support value in the Public Policy Polling poll. Results from the other two polls match closely a variety of recent national polls.

Date Polling Agency Favoring SSM Opposing SSM Don't know or didn't answer Sample Size Margin of error
2013-DEC
PRRI 1
57%
37%
6%
261
±7.0 p.p.*
2014-JAN
PPP 2
47%
44%
9%
591
±4.0 p.p.
2014-APR
QUIN 3
56%
39%
5%
1,413
±2.6 p.p.

* In percentage points.

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2014-JUN-20: A list of active court cases in Florida involving same-sex couples:

In the entire United States, there are currently over 70 active court cases involving one or more same-sex couples. There is at least one lawsuit in every state that currently bans such marriages by restrictive state statutes and/or a constitutional amendment.

There appear to be at least seven law suites active in Florida.

  • A major case involves two lawsuits in federal Northern District Court that have been consolidated as Grimsley and Albu. The two original lawsuits are:
    • Brenner v. Scott: This involves a same-sex couple was married in Canada and is asking Florida to recognize their marriage. This case has been merged with Grimsley and Albu v. Scott.

    • Grimsley and Albu v. Scott: Eight same-sex couples who have married out-of-state are each asking that their marriage be recognized in Florida.

  • Another major case is Pareto v. Rubin which was filed in the state Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami by six same sex couples who are not yet married. They are asking that they -- and all other qualifying same-sex couples -- be allowed to marry in Florida.

There are also five other cases:

  • Dousset v. Florida Atlantic University: Gildas Douseset, and his spouse Paul Rubio, want their Massachusetts marriage recognized so that he can obtain a reduction on his tuition.

  • Huntsman v. Heavilin: This case involves a Key West couple seeking the right to marry in Florida.

  • Shaw v. Shaw:This involves a same-sex couple who is seeking a divorce but first have to have their same-sex marriage recognized in Hillsborouth County.

  • Simpson v. Bondi: Jason Simpson has filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. He needs to have his out-of-state marriage recognized so that he can handle the affairs of his husband Frank Bangor who is now deceased.

  • Trepanier and Puente v. Heavilin: They are another Key West couple seeking the right to marry in Florida. 4

With such a large group of cases in state and federal courts, there is the potential of real chaos if they judges make opposing rulings.

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2014-JUN-24: Attorney General Pam Bondi will defend same-sex marriage ban in court cases:

Bondi's office announced that she continues to supports the ban in the state constitution that prohibits loving, committed same-sex couples from marrying in Florida. 4 She has been taking an active role against the plaintiffs in Pareto v. Rubin which involves six same-sex couples who filed a lawsuit in state court. She is also working against the plaintiffs in the federal court lawsuit Grimsley and Albu which was filed in the Northern District Court.

She is probably experiencing a conflict over this decision, because when she took his oath of office, she promised to uphold both the state Constitution and the federal Constitution. Unfortunately, the oath does not indicate what action an Attorney General should take in the event that the two Constitutions conflict:

  • The 2008 amendment to the state constitution clearly and unambiguously bans marriage for same-sex couples; it even bans civil unions .

  • By the end of 2014-JUN, there have been over a dozen decisions by state courts and federal District Courts, and by one U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal on same-sex marriage lawsuits. All courts have found such state marriage bans to be unconstitutional because they violate the due process and equal protection clauses in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Apparently the Attorney General has chosen to ignore the federal Constitution and follow the state Constitution. Some would suggest that she should have made the opposite decision. The vast majority of constitutional experts regard the federal Constitution as the ultimate law of the land and as superior to each of the 50 state constitutions.

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2014-JUN-27: Charlie Christ filed a legal brief in the Pareto v. Rubin lawsuit in federal court:

Charlie Crist (D) was governor in 2008 when the voters passed the constitutional amendment that prohibited same-sex couples from marrying. At the time, he supported the ban, but has since evolved in his opinion.

He is now running again for governor and has filed a legal brief in support of marriage equality. He called the amendment "discriminatory" and believes that it should be declared unconstitutional. He wrote:

With the arc of history now, in fact, bending toward justice, this issue of marriage equality will almost certainly not even be an issue for the children and grandchildren of this state. But it is still the duty of those in the present to recognize that the legitimacy of government depends upon its willingness to fairly, transparently and equitably administer the law. That goal is frustrated by denying an entire class of citizens equality in the institution of marriage simply because of who they are and whom they love." 5

Nadine Smith, of Equality Florida -- a pro-marriage equality group that is also a plaintiff in Pareto -- said:

"As former governor and as someone who previously supported this measure, Charlie Crist's words matter a great deal. He has taken the same journey [that] the majority of Floridians have taken in realizing this ban serves no purpose but to disparage and discriminate against gay couples and our children. 5

The Mayors of Orlando and Miami Beach also filed amicus briefs in late June on behalf of their cities. They discussed how allowing same-sex couples to marry would reduce hardships for same-sex couples and would provide many benefits for citizens and employees to live in state that has attained marriage equality. 6

The hearing in Pareto is scheduled for JUL-02 in the state Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above menu. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Robert P. Jones et al., Page 49, "Public Religion Research Institute, 2014-FEB-26, at:
    http://publicreligion.org/
  2. Tom Jensen, "Crist holds onto narrow lead over Scott," Public Policy Polling, 2014-JAN-22, at: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/
  3. Tim Malloy, "Crist Has 15-Point Compassion Lead In Florida, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Gay Marriage, ..." 2014-APR-30, at: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/
  4. Anthony Man, "Same-sex marriage cases," Sun Sentinel, 2014-JUN-20, at: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/
  5. Kathleen McGrory, "Charlie Crist files legal brief in support of marriage equality," Tampa Bay News, 2014-JUN-27, at: http://www.tampabay.com/
  6. "Former Fla. governor Charlie Crist files brief in support of marriage equality," LGBTQ Nation, 2014-JUN-30, at: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/

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Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Florida > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-JUN-30
Latest update: 2014-JUL-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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