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Courts in Miami and Tavernier hear cases but delay rulings

politics_1For months now, Hotspots has brought you information on the marriage equality cases that have been filed in Florida. In the past two weeks, the ball has really started to roll in the various cases, especially the two that are taking place in South Florida. Before the Independence Day holiday, a trial court in Miami heard oral arguments in Pareto v. Rubin, and just a little less than a week later, a second case, Huntsman v. Heavilin, was heard in a courtroom on Plantation Key in the town of Tavernier.

Both cases saw the judges delay their rulings to unknown dates in the future, so there is no resolution yet, but if recent history is any indicator, we can expect rulings in favor of marriage equality. Supporters of equality are on a 20-0 roll since the US Supreme Court ruled in our favor last year in two separate cases.

It’s not surprising to anyone that the couples in both suits are suing for the right to marry the ones they love; it’s also not surprising that courts across the country have taken their lead from the Supreme Court and ruled in favor of equality. What IS surprising are the lengths that opponents of marriage equality will go to in order to stand in the way of happy couples tying the knot. It’s truly astounding that one of their principal arguments is religious freedom. They ACTUALLY claim that a marriage between two men or women impinges upon THEIR religious freedom. It is absolutely baffling. How does someone else’s marriage have anything to do with you or your beliefs? It bears pointing out here that in the US we have separation of church and state.  Legally-recognized marriage in Florida has nothing, NOTHING, to do with any religion.

In many of the states where marriage equality cases have come before the courts, the Attorneys General have flat out refused to defend the homophobic laws, recognizing them for what they obviously are: unconstitutional and discriminatory. Not so in the Sunshine State. Here, it seems, hate-filled discrimination pushed by the religious right and endorsed by voters is OK, and deserves defending, so Attorney General Pam Bondi has decided to do just that. (But not in person; she sent lawyers in her place.) Hopefully the judges in both cases disagree with her office and rule in favor of equality.

Hotspots is dedicated to the fight. We are watching closely and will continue to use our influence as well as our position in the LGBT community throughout the Sunshine State to advocate for marriage equality.