Almost six years ago, after Florida voters amended the state’s constitution to rule out same-sex marriage, a speaker at an Orlando protest told the crowd, “Time is on our side, and our rights will not be denied.” What might have come off as Panglossian in 2008 is now looking prophetic in 2014.
The days are numbered for state bans on gay marriage. They’ve been falling like dominoes across the country, as judge after judge has reached the inescapable conclusion that this form of prohibition amounts to unconstitutional government-sanctioned discrimination.
This past week a state judge in Miami heard arguments in one of several current cases challenging Florida’s ban. We don’t see how she could — or should — come to a different conclusion than all the other judges.
We agree with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the four city commissioners who voted to take the side of the couples challenging the ban. Orlando’s friend-of-the-court brief spelled out numerous benefits — “legal, economic, social and mental health” — that same-sex partners and their families are unfairly denied.
The avalanche of court decisions striking down gay-marriage bans was set off a year ago by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the majority opinion, wrote, “The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages …”