Pam Bondi Draws Fire and Applause for Defending State's Traditional Marriage Law

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 3, 2014 3:55 AM
Pam Bondi

Pam Bondi

After Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi looked to defend the state constitutional amendment which ensures the recognition of only traditional marriage in the Sunshine State, activists from both sides looked to rally supporters on Monday. 

Bondi filed a brief last week, defending the state’s marriage amendment which 62 percent of voters approved back in 2008. In the brief, Bondi maintained same-sex marriage "imposes significant public harm." Bondi also made the case for keeping only traditional marriage recognized in the public arena.

"The promotion of family continuity and stability is a legitimate state interest," Bondi argued. “Florida's marriage laws, then, have a close, direct and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born into and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units."

Attorney John Stemberger, the president of the Florida Family Policy Council, cheered Bondi on Monday and tried to rally social and religious conservatives behind her. Stemberger had been a backer of then-Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp in the 2010 Republican primaries, including jabbing Bondi for living with a man she wasn’t married to.

“Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi is to be commended for her courageous and clear defense of Article I, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution,” Stemberger insisted on Monday. “The Florida Marriage Protection Amendment was passed by 62 percent in 2008 when about 5 million Florida voters, in an act of direct democracy, voted defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife. In her legal brief to the court, Bondi nails the essence of government's rational basis and compelling interests in defining, protecting and defending marriage.

Slamming  “activist judges across America”  for “striking down marriage laws, creating new rights out of thin air that have no precedent in law or history,” Stemberger maintained that the judiciary was looking to thwart the will of the voters. “Federal judges are now even trying to strike down various state marriage amendments, thwarting the sovereign will of the people,” Stemberger insisted. “Leftist Obama-appointed judges are acting like the Constitution is Play Dough and can be manipulated irrespective of the plain text or the intent of the framers.

“Pam Bondi did not cower from the intimidation and lawsuit demands of gay rights activists,” Stemberger continued. “Instead, she and her office made some of the strongest arguments possible to protect Florida's marriage laws.”

On the other sides of the isle, Florida LGBT Democratic Caucus President Sally Phillips came out swinging at Bondi, claiming the attorney general made “homophobic comments.”

“Her claim that disrupting existing marriage laws ‘would cause significant harm’ is relying on debunked arguments and cites outdated information on Floridians' views on marriage equality in an attempt to have a federal judge throw out a lawsuit brought by eight legally married couples,” Phillips insisted. Despite insisting a “bipartisan majority of Floridians now support marriage equality,” Phillips chose to ignore the voter-passed amendment from 2008, claiming Bondi was following her own values instead of the law and arguing that Gov. Rick Scott was denying civil rights by following the state Constitution.

“Pam Bondi has it backward -- the only ‘significant harm’ being done here is to the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who are having their civil rights denied by the Scott administration,” Phillips claimed. “Even worse, Florida taxpayers are footing the bill for Bondi's rigid ideological crusade.

“Federal courts from Virginia to Oklahoma to Utah have ruled that bans on marriage equality violate the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution,” Phillips added. “Florida's ban on marriage equality will have its day in court on July 2nd, and we eagerly anticipate Florida joining the growing list of states across the nation that are embracing equality.”

Stemberger also noted the activities in other states and contrasted Bondi to other attorneys general across the nation who “are being intimidated and cowardly running from their sworn responsibility to defend the laws of this country and her states.”

“Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi stands as an example of courage and responsible stewardship of her authority as the highest law enforcement officer in the state,” Stemberger insisted. “No elected offical is perfect. But in this case, if you are wondering what leadership looks like, look no further than Attorney General Pam Bondi, who did her job and articulately defended the people of Florida and their Constitution which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (24)

10:30AM JUN 4TH 2014
The gays have a far bigger problem heading their way than whether Florida should accept their immoral behavior and issue a license for it. While you may be able to get your yuppie neighbors to give in and go along with the perverted gay agenda, God never will. He told you it was 100% wrong, period. How does this gay marriage abomination affect me, simple, when God has had enough and the majority have decided mans way is better than his creators way, he will destroy this nation, and that affects my life, and my grandkids. You can laugh and mock and giggle and say it isn't going to happen, but it is. And all of you who supported this, will be held every bit as accountable as those who did it, because in Gods eyes you are equally guilty for supporting what he told you was wrong.
Patrick McShane
1:44PM JUN 19TH 2014
There is no such thing as God. He does not exist. Call me whatever you want but there is not such thing as God. We all know that, but are scared to own up to it. He did not walk on water, heal the sick, or rise the dead. The world would be a better place if religion was not a factor, religion has ruined the world, If you disagree then just look at the middle east. And it's commin here if we don't stop it. Again there is no such thing as God. Think about it people, really think about this.
6:05PM JUN 4TH 2014
Yes, you speak for God . . . got it . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Fran k
8:30AM JUN 4TH 2014
I totally support this woman. Thank goodness some people in government do not accept the sexual perversions of others as "normal" behavior.

I for one am tired of the minority trying to control the minds of the majority. Most people do not accept GAY behaviors.
6:13PM JUN 4TH 2014
What an uninformed, bigoted, self-centered response . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Mike Bergeron
7:04PM JUN 3RD 2014
Bondi is such a disappointment. I voted for her last time around thinking she was a reasonable person. She's turning out to sound like a freakin' nut job. This time around I'm guessing I'll have to vote for her opponent. Why can't these elected officials just let gay people live their lives and focus on issues that we actually care about?!
Robert T.
9:02PM JUN 3RD 2014
I couldn't agree with you more. I believe our rights end where others' rights begin, and I see no infringement of rights in the case of gay marriage. So just give them their rights. >>We have so many more pressing issues than this one!<<
Kirk Wentzel
2:44PM JUN 3RD 2014
It's a little odd for someone who has had multiple failed opposite sex marriages to claim that same sex marriages are "unstable". She keeps saying same sex marriage imposes significant harm? My questions? Harm to who? What kind of harm? More harm then failed opposite sex marriages are known to do? More smoke and mirrors from the GOP.
2:24PM JUN 3RD 2014
What does she know about marriage or family? Maybe she should marry her sugar daddy and try to have kids. Then, come back and defend the (un)constitutional marriage amendment....
2:22PM JUN 3RD 2014
Ms. Bondi's argument fails on all counts. First of all, it is filled with nothing but conclusions with no bases in fact, which is why these "arguments" keep losing in all courts. In addition, she argues that a state has the right to trump constitutional protections against tyranny of the majority over the minority with no state interest. Of course, given that she has failed at "traditional marriage" at least twice (third time's a charm?), I'm surprised that she feels an obligation to defend an unconstitutional law that has anything to do with marriage (traditional or otherwise).
2:07PM JUN 3RD 2014
Poor Pam. It must be very difficult for her to do that job when faced with a vile and hateful Christofascist law that is so blatently unconstitutional. In order to keep her job, she has to balance assuaging the bigot hater Christians who comprise the base of the Republican party, and pretending that the laws she is required to defend are Constitutional. Imagine how difficult it would be if her slack-jawed voters passed a law denying black people the right to own propoerty, or stripping Mormons of the right to build their temples. Yes, the "people" voted, but clearly these laws are unconsitutional. So keep on spewing your ignorant bigotry, Pam and your ilk. While it continues to motivate the hate-based voters, the voters of tomorrow are done with your policies of the past, and your actions today will ensure that your tired, hateful republican policies will be a relic of the bad old days.

Stop the Radical Christofascist Agenda, before they come for YOUR family.
Spike Bickel
10:15AM JUN 3RD 2014
This is such a polarizing issue with bigots on the right and enlightened people on the left digging in. Unfortunately, the bigots refuse to understand logic. Equal rights must never be voted on by the people. I most sincerely doubt there has been a reduction in heterosexual marriages because of gay marriages. One has NO effect on the other. Straight couples will continue to marry, have families and grow old together, just as they have until now.
9:38AM JUN 3RD 2014
Thanks to AG Bondi for doing her job and honoring her oath. When will the radical gay lobby stop their quest to destroy marriage as an institution and seek real reforms to address their legitimate interests?
2:25PM JUN 3RD 2014
And when will conservative nuts began to recognize that, just because someone you don't like gets something you already have, that doesn't destroy it. Didn't anyone ever teach you to share? Jokes aside, your religious views are fully and completely respected, and you have a right to them and to speak them. You do NOT, however, have the right to legislate those religious beliefs on me. Good day, sir.
Above Any Law
11:34AM JUN 3RD 2014
"AG Bondi for doing her job and honoring her oath"

Which oath to which husband? She's on her third "marriage."

Worried other state employees may qualify for the same pension and health care benefits she gets from being "married" (again).

Some model of marriage you voted into office. A hypocrite as well as a bigot.
6:55AM JUN 3RD 2014
Hugh1 - you've got it wrong, respectfully. She makes perfect sense. This isn't about divorce rates. It's simply about what God and nature intended. You likely don't agree and that's your right. Children need the role models of a father and mother as they grow and mature; to do otherwise is a detriment to those children. I'm tired of this in-your-face agenda of the gay community. They deserve equal treatment in the form of a civil union; but you it doesn't constitute marriage in the historical context, no matter how load you protest. Why is a civil union not sufficient? Soon same-sex couples will sue a church and it's clergy to marry them, in direct conflict of their religious beliefs. When that happens, this country is lost . . .
5:45PM JUN 3RD 2014
In your face agenda? So, fighting for rights is an "in your face agenda"? Did you feel that way inthe 60's when minorities were fighting for their rights. Or when most southern states still made it illegal to marry outside your race? Or how about when women and minorities were not allowed to vote?
Do you realize that it is still legal for a gay person in this state to be fired from their job, lose housing and otherwise be discriminated against simply for being gay or just if someone thinks you are? How is that fair to people that pay taxes and are otherwise good citizens of this country and state?
Your religious views are fine, however they should not be used to exclude people from rights because you think those same people are "icky". If you want to protect the sanctity of marriage then fight against divorce (btw, Bondi has had 2 of them), adultery and abuse. It is none of your business or concern when 2 consenting adults want to get married and enjoy all the same benefit and responsibilities of starting their own families, religious beliefs or not.
1:22PM JUN 3RD 2014
In Massachusetts, the Catholic Church legally discriminates against gay people in employment, church sacraments, and in public statements. Who cares? I don't. You have a religious agenda - and that belongs to you, not me. Above Any Law, makes the point that Bondi had three marriages - all purportedly for the purpose of raising children in a stable family environment. Say what? Do they live in a commune? So, it's not about divorce rates since that's not a convenient measure; and you don't dare go near the third-rail of single parent households, since more than half of Florida marriages end in divorce; and you conclude that it's just about gay families who your God doesn't approve of. ... and that's how the country is going to be lost? Good grief Rob, get a grip on reality! Like many here, I consider Bondi to be outrageously irresponsible in her personal life, a bigot, and a hypocrite. She also doesn't have a case, or a clue.
Above Any Law
11:28AM JUN 3RD 2014
"what God and nature intended" ?

Tell us what species "marries", what species even has an exclusive pair-bond for life, what species exists only because every member reproduces.

"Soon same-sex couples will sue a church..."

Don't flatter yourself. A civil marriage license is obtained at city hall. You feel left out because you will not be invited. Too bad.
10:31AM JUN 3RD 2014
GOD and Nature? Do you live in the 15th Century. There is scientific proof that more than 100 animal species engaged in homosexual conduct, thats nature right there for you. Regarding GOD, I do not have a problem with your religious beliefs and/or Gods, but please keep them away from me, my rights and the government. I remind you Civil Marriage is a contract and not a religious ceremony, as well as the separation of Church and State.
12:31PM JUN 4TH 2014
The reason you don't want a God around you is because if you acknowledge there was a creator then you would also have to submit to His authority. That is the "Rub". People will accept the most detestable thing in place of submitting to an authority in their lives. I was there for many years and I understand. The truth is that God will lift these burdens from you and free you not keep things from you. God seems like a lot of rules because He loves you and wants to protect you from harm. I applaud Ms. Bondi for having the courage to stand up for what I can only guess is her core beliefs in spite of the hate being written here.
luv liberty
2:42PM JUN 6TH 2014
Lots of hatred has been spewed here, and people do have a right to dissent wherefore they do not agree with one another;plain and simple..
5:06AM JUN 3RD 2014
Bondi maintained same-sex marriage "imposes significant public harm." That's Bondi's claim? After a decade of same sex marriage, "This historic state (Massachusetts) boasts the lowest number of divorces in the United States—1.8 per 1000 people." -HP On the other hand, Florida is a contender in the top 10 highest. "The promotion of family continuity and stability is a legitimate state interest," Bondi argued. Bondi is more likely to get Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E named the Sunshine State's official song than to get gay marriage banned by the courts "for imposing significant public harm." Bondi's legal logic just makes no sense.
luv liberty
10:57PM JUN 6TH 2014
I just recently read that divorces in Massachusetts and across the country are actually increasing as the economy has been improving. Seems to me that the reason to either divorce or not to d-i-v-o-r-c-e is influenced by economic decisions...

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