Monroe County Judge Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: July 17, 2014 2:10 PM
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A Monroe County judge ruled Thursday to allow gay marriage in the Florida Keys, making the area the first in the state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Circuit Judge Luis Garcia said the county could begin issuing licenses as early as Tuesday.

Garcia ruled to allow gay marriage in Monroe County following a case in which two gay bartenders, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, sued the Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin for a marriage license.

In 2008, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, with the amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The measure passed by nearly 62 percent.

The couple’s lawsuit contended that the 2008 ballot measure was unconstitutional because it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

The Monroe County suit is similar to another lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County, in which six same-sex couples as well as LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida Institute sued County Clerk Harvey Ruvin for marriage licenses.

Although Monroe County will allow gay marriages, it’s still very possible that Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has already come out in support of the ban, could appeal Garcia’s decision in a higher court.

Bondi and supporters of the ban have said the 2008 referendum needs to be respected

If Bondi chooses to appeal Thursday’s ruling and Garcia’s decision is upheld, it’s likely that judges in other counties would begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Equality Florida applauded Thursday’s ruling.

“LOVE WINS!” the group posted on its Facebook page.

Equality Florida also announced it would be hosting several “Day of Decision” gatherings to celebrate the ruling. Events will be held Thursday in various Florida counties from the Keys to Gainesville.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Update: Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an appeal Thursday afternoon against Judge Garcia's decision to find Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen. 

Comments (11)

C Breeze
5:12PM JUL 18TH 2014
Luis Garcia is just one more example of rogue judges needing more intense vetting before allowing them to subvert and ignore legitimate laws. Key West, although a trying ride to a cartoon destination, still exists in a country of laws where, unfortunately a miniscule 2% (or less) of our Republic's entire population dictates to minority "affirmative-action degree" judges and politicians who thereby corrupt America's culture. Federal law does NOT supercede State law...and a Democracy is NOT governed by "majority rule" (that's how we used to hang cattle rustlers). Our 'Founders' created our Democratic REPUBLIC processes to ensure the law would not be subverted by "creative morons" in high offices.
5:54PM JUL 18TH 2014
Yes, yes, you must be right . . . . rogue justices = U.S. Supreme Court, multiple federal courts, and again today, 10th federal circuit court of appeals, plus >50% of American voters . . . . . yes, morons all . . . . they don't know the law (the "creative morons") because they don't agree with your bigotry, but you do with your name calling and faux law degree (like your faux Democrat credentials - remember those lies) . . . . . just acknowledge your blatant rightwing bigotry and continued politics of the "Big Lie" . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Scott Henry
6:52PM JUL 17TH 2014
This ruling is UN_CONSTITUTIONAL! We had an overwhelming concenses and vote making this an amendment to our (Florida) constitution! which made same sex marriages/civil unions "ILLEGAL" !!!!! I don't care who the hell this judge is, He can not legally just change the constitution as he see's fit! He needs to be dis barred and ran out of the state!
12:31PM JUL 18TH 2014
You don't understand our constitutional law. State constitutions, no matter how many and how hard people try, can not violate the Federal Constitution. For example, the State of Florida, could not vote to add to their constitution, that the state had the right to ban all citizens of the state from owning guns - because that would violate the Second Amendment. What this judge is saying, whether you agree or not, is that the amendment could have passed by 100% of the vote, and it would STILL be unconstitutional because Florida's Constitution can not violate the federal one.
9:27PM JUL 17TH 2014
Listen to the bigots scream . . . . especially those who don't understand the actual governmental principles of American Democracy 101 . . .

Pathetic. . . . .
5:54PM JUL 17TH 2014
If you don't agree with same-sex marriage, DON'T do it.

If the idea of same-sex marriage makes you feel icky (I'm looking at you Mark fl and Fire) then you are spending way too much time thinking about it.

I have zero mental images about how you and your significant other/spouse, or by your lonesomes engages in intimacy.

Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.
Breaking News!
5:09PM JUL 17TH 2014
Don't be losers! Which it seems like it's too late for that....Please! No one listens to close-minded ignorant unintelligent [filtered word]s like you anyway...Climb back in your hole to hell....
mark fl
4:41PM JUL 17TH 2014
Sick ! We need to throw out these judges and deport these homos out of our great state of Florida
5:57PM JUL 17TH 2014
Hitler tried to "deport" the homos too, along with the others he felt were less than (the mentally or physically damaged, all Jews, the Poles and the people like Jehovah Witnesses who would not pledge allegiance to the third reich).

Is that the camp you want to be in?
3:56PM JUL 17TH 2014
Time to throw up!
9:26PM JUL 17TH 2014
Great . . . . then you can go seek related covered mental care under the Affordable Care Act . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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