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Monday, July 28, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 7/28/14

Lots of good news for marriage in the South today.  Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

And Freedom to Marry reports on Friday's ruling in Pareto v. Ruvin:
Judge [Sarah] Zabel ordered the Miami-Dade County clerks to stop enforcing Florida's anti-marriage constitutional amendment, and for now, the ruling only applies to Miami-Dade County. The ruling does not require the state of Florida to respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states.

In her ruling, Judge Zabel writes:
The flood of cases that have come out since Windsor amply demonstrates this truth as not one court has found a same-sex marriage ban to be constitutional. As case after case has come out, unified in their well-reasoned constitutional condemnation of the deprivation of one class of person’s right to marry, the answer to the question of whether it is constitutionally permissible to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry has become increasingly obvious: Of course it is not.

Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest. It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.
Full text of Judge Zabel's ruling here.

Update, 8:15 p.m.: 

Freedom to Marry reports:
Today, July 28, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Virginia from February.

The landmark ruling follows a similar ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that banning same-sex couples from marriage in Utah is unconstitutional. It is the 29th consecutive ruling in favor of marriage for same-sex couples in the past year. Read about all of the rulings here.

The decision reads:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
Text of the ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer here; the ruling is stayed pending appeal.

And in a further development, North Carolina's attorney General announced this afternoon that he will no longer defend his state's same-sex marriage ban.

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