Federal judge in Tallahassee: Florida's gay marriage ban is 'an obvious pretext for discrimination'
"This is part of the constitution of the state of Florida," attorney general Pam Bondi said yesterday down in Palm Beach County.
Not forever. Not for long. The latest judge to say so (and for the first time a federal judge)? U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee.
Stripped across the top of the front page of today's paper: "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. Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held."
And: "The institution of marriage survived when bans on interracial marriage were struck down, and the institution will survive when bans on same-sex marriage are struck down. Liberty, tolerance, and respect are not zero-sum concepts. Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage. Tolerating views with which one disagrees is a hallmark of civilized society."
And: "The undeniable truth is that the Florida ban on same-sex marriage stems entirely, or almost entirely, from moral disapproval of the practice."
Also, Steve Rothaus wrote, the judge said he didn't buy Bondi's defense that a "critical feature of marriage is the capacity to procreate."
"Same-sex couples, like opposite-sex couples and single individuals, can adopt, but same-sex couples cannot procreate," Hinkle said. "Neither can many opposite-sex couples. And many opposite-sex couples do not wish to procreate."
In his ruling, he wrote: "The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the fundamental right to marry. The Court applied the right to interracial marriage in 1967 despite state laws that were widespread and of long standing. Just last year the Court struck down a federal statute that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered in other jurisdictions. The Florida provisions that prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered elsewhere, like the federal provision, are unconstitutional. So is the Florida ban on entering same-sex marriages."