Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Bondi should stop blocking equal marriage rights

A federal judge's sweeping ruling last week that would allow same-sex couples throughout Florida to marry should send a clear signal to Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. They are on the wrong side of this issue, and they should stop wasting public money defending indefensible discrimination. There is no need to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to act. The state should not appeal, the federal judge's stay should be lifted and all Floridians who want to marry should be treated equally.

In an unequivocal, plainly written ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle cleared the way Thursday for same-sex couples statewide to marry and banned the state from denying benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in other states. This is the first federal court ruling in Florida on same-sex marriage, and it follows four similar rulings in state courts in South Florida. All of those decisions also are on hold as the state continues to defend a 2008 amendment to the Florida Constitution that bans same-sex marriage. Bondi has shifted positions and wants to maintain the status quo until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue, but that lets her avoid the tough decisions about pursuing appeals or siding with reason and fairness. It also forces same-sex couples in Florida to continue an unnecessary wait for justice.

As Hinkle wrote in his 33-page decision, "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.''

Like other judges, he made the point that the institution of marriage will survive and that heterosexual marriages are not threatened by allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Now 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, and Florida should join them. To maintain the ban puts this state at a competitive disadvantage in attracting jobs and sends a signal that Floridians are intolerant. That is not the message that should be sent from a state that should pride itself on its diversity.

"To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down,'' Hinkle wrote, "the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

It's time that Florida's governor and attorney general recognize that arc. They should embrace tolerance and fairness rather than intolerance and discrimination that will not stand.

Comments
Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18