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Supporters of marriage equality have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Those rulings remain in various stages of appeal.
Many legal experts say the U.S. Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide the question for all states.
Bondi said in a statement about the Monroe County case that “with many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow gay people to marry.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott has said he supports the amendment but opposes discrimination. His top Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, supports efforts to overturn it.
Florida has long been a gay rights battleground. In the 1970s, singer and orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant successfully campaigned to overturn a Dade County ordinance banning discrimination against gays. The county commission reinstated those protections two decades later.
In 1977, Florida became the only state prohibiting all gay people from adopting children. A state court judge threw out that law in 2008, finding “no rational basis” for that ban, and two years later, the state decided not to appeal, making gay adoption legal.
Gay marriage opponents said the rulings overturning the same-sex marriage ban disenfranchise nearly five million voters – the 62 percent who approved it nearly six years ago. Repealing the amendment would require at least 60 percent support.
Article continues below“With one stoke of a pen, a mere trial judge has attempted to overthrow an act of direct democracy by five million Floridians who defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said John Stemberger, president Florida Family Policy Council, which pushed for passage of the amendment.
The cities of Orlando, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne filed legal papers supporting the gay couples’ quest to have the marriage ban ruled unconstitutional.
A separate lawsuit is pending in Tallahassee federal court seeking to both overturn Florida’s gay marriage ban and force the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
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