On January 6, the freedom to marry took effect statewide in Florida as an appeal proceeds to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a federal marriage ruling, issued in August 2014 from U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle. Previously, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and the United States Supreme Court had denied requests from the state of Florida to extend the stay.
One day before, on Janary 5, 2015, one day before the stay on marriages between same-sex couples was lifted, a circuit judge lifted her stay in a marriage ruling impacting Miami-Dade County, meaning that same-sex couples were able to get married there starting at 2:00pm.
The August 2014 decision in the federal case followed four previous rulings, beginning with the July 17 decision from Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, who ordered the Monroe County Clerk to stop enforcing Florida's anti-marriage constitutional amendment. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed, which immediately stayed the ruling. Over the next two weeks, two additional judges - Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel and Broward County Circuit Judge Dale Cohen - also ruled that Florida's marriage ban is unconstitutional. Read more about marriage litigation in Florida.
Now, as the federal marriage case makes its way up through the courts, Floridians across the state will continue to do the work of having conversations about why marriage matters and creating a climate for a final, national victory at the United States Supreme Court.
In 2008, anti-gay forces in Florida pushed through an anti-marriage constitutional amendment that excluded same-sex couples from marriage and prohibited same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status.
Several jurisdictions, including Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, passed protections for domestic partners.
Voters in Florida are moving on marriage, with a majority of voters (57%) who support the freedom to marry. (Public Religion Research Institute, July 2014)
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Equality Florida is a statewide education and advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, gender and class.
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights is one of the nation's leading LGBT legal organizations. NCLR served as co-counsel on Pareto v. Ruvin, one of the cases that brought the freedom to marry to Florida.
- ACLU of Florida is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU's case Grimsley v. Scott was one of the cases that brought the freedom to marry to Florida.
- SAVE is an organization working in Miami to end discrimination for LGBT people in Florida. SAVE was a plaintiff in one of the cases that brought the freedom to marry to Florida.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:
According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 48,496 same-sex couples are living in Florida, representing 6.5 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
Blog Posts Related to Florida
Here's what's going on in the 13 states where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry. Every day of denial in these states is a day too long - and the past year of momentum demonstrates more clearly than ever: America is ready for the freedom to marry.
Every February 14, Valentine's Day serves as an opportunity for loving couples across the country to take the time to reflect on their relationships and show how deeply they care for each other.
This February 14th will mark the 9th year Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, will marry couples on Valentine’s Day, and the first year all couples in the community will be able to participate.
Resources Related to Florida
This winter, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will consider the appeal of an August 2014 ruling in favor of the freedom to marry in Florida. Dozens of "friends of the court" have filed briefs in the case, Armstrong v. Brenner, urging the 11th Circuit to affirm the ruling and pave the way for the freedom to marry in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
UCLA demographers analyzing 2010 Census Bureau data have found that same-sex couples raising children are more common in the South than in any other region in the United States.
The Southern Poverty Law Center provides a detailed listing of anti-gay groups know for their dangerous propaganda aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.