IN THE PEOPLE'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION, STATE OF FLORIDA.
Appellant, Common Sense, claims to have been ignored by Attorney General Pam Bondi when she chose to challenge court rulings that had overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Common Sense raises numerous issues on appeal, including constitutional freedoms, growing public acceptance and Bondi's own selective enforcement of Florida's laws.
Numerous judges around Florida struck down a voter-approved constitutional amendment from 2008 that banned gay couples from being wed. Bondi filed appeals on behalf of the state and asked judges to stop ruling on same-sex marriages until the matter could be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. That court recently announced it would not hear appeals from five states seeking to ban gay marriages, a decision that essentially paves the way for same-sex weddings in more than half the country.
In the first issue on appeal, Common Sense points to near-unanimous court rulings that have determined bans on same-sex marriages violate equal protection and due process afforded all citizens under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Turning to the second issue, Common Sense contends that public opinion is now firmly on the side of marriage equality and is continuing to grow.
A recent Gallup poll indicates support for gay marriage is at 55 percent nationally, and almost 80 percent among young adults. The numbers in Florida are not as strong in support, but are significantly higher than two years ago.
The final issue has to do with the Attorney General's vigorous and vacuous arguments against gay marriage. Bondi has repeatedly stated that hers is not a personal crusade but rather her responsibility as the state's top law enforcement official.
This argument would carry much greater weight if the Attorney General did not pick and choose which laws and constitutional amendments to aggressively enforce.
Florida's voters also recently passed a constitutional amendment requiring lawmakers to avoid partisan politics when redrawing districts. A recent court case indicated lawmakers ignored that law and mysteriously deleted pertinent documents. There were also indications party operatives falsely submitted a map under a college student's name to avoid detection.
The Attorney General has not seemed overly concerned with those abuses.
She has also largely ignored constitutional issues involving the Sunshine Law, school vouchers once ruled illegal by the state Supreme Court and corporate pollution laws.
On the other hand, she has aggressively defended such partisan issues as warrantless searches, prison privatization and a flawed voter purge.
The Attorney General's explanations seem spurious and self-serving, and are completely incompatible with her actions in other matters. She should drop all appeals immediately. Further delay might indicate a preference to wait until after the upcoming election, which would amount to a despicable abuse of power.
This court rules in favor of Common Sense.