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Fla. judge says three anti-gay groups can’t intervene in same-sex marriage suit

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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MIAMI — A judge in Florida ruled Tuesday that three anti-gay groups who oppose marriage equality for same-sex couples cannot intervene as parties in a state court lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.

FloridaMiami Dade County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel rejected a petition by Florida Family Action, Inc. (FFAI), Florida Democratic League Inc. (FDL) and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, Inc. (PULSE) to intervene in the case.

In denying their request, Zabel said the groups did not have a concrete legal interest in the case because they “will not be directly and immediately affected if others enter into a same-sex marriage, or are prevented from entering into a same-sex marriage.”

The court also noted that the “validity of their own marriages will not be affected,” adding that the groups cannot enter the case as parties simply because they have strong beliefs about same-sex marriage.

“Today Judge Zabel reached the proper conclusion in denying extremists seeking a platform for their anti-gay rhetoric the right to intervene in this case,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida Institute, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

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“This lawsuit is about fundamental, constitutionally protected rights that are violated by a measure that does real harm to our families. We look forward to the day when Florida joins the 19 other states and the District of Columbia, where judges have come to the conclusion that such a ban is indefensible,” said Smith.

The lawsuit, filed in January on behalf of Equality Florida Institute and six same-sex couples, argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs are represented by local attorneys and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Zabel will hear arguments in the case on July 2.

Case archives: Pareto v. Ruvin.

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