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Breaking: Judge Tells Florida Anti-Gay Groups Same-Sex Marriage Doesn’t Affect Them

by David Badash on June 3, 2014

in Marriage,News

Post image for Breaking: Judge Tells Florida Anti-Gay Groups Same-Sex Marriage Doesn’t Affect Them

A state court judge has just denied a request by three anti-gay organizations who asked to be given standing to defend Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel ruled that Florida Family Action, Inc. (FFAI), Florida Democratic League Inc. (FDL), and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, Inc. (PULSE) did not have standing and would not be allied to be parties to the case because they “will not be directly and immediately affected if others enter into a same-sex marriage, or are prevented from entering into a same-sex marriage.” The judge added that the “validity of their own marriages will not be affected,” regardless of the trial’s outcome.

Judge Zabel appeared to have dealt with the groups firmly, noting that the three groups “also assert that they have a direct and immediate interest in this case because granting the requested relief would infringe upon their right to free speech, free exercise of religion, and ‘other rights attendant to operating businesses and non-profit organizations in accordance with the definition of marriage as currently memorialized in the Florida state constitution.’”

Judge Zabel ruled that the case, Pareto v. Ruvin, “will not and could not have any such impact on such rights. Allowing or disallowing the plaintiffs to marry simply would not affect anyone’s right to state their opinions about their marriages or same-sex marriages in general, and would not interfere with anyone’s religion, business, or non-profit organization.”

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida Institute, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, stated that “Judge Zabel reached the proper conclusion in denying extremists seeking a platform for their anti-gay rhetoric the right to intervene in this case,” and added that the “lawsuit is about fundamental, constitutionally protected rights that are violated by a measure that does real harm to our families. We look forward to the day when Florida joins the 19 other states and the District of Columbia, where judges have come to the conclusion that such a ban is indefensible.”

Judge Zabel will hear the case on July 2.


Image: Several of the plaintiffs in Pareto v. Ruvin. Photo by NCLR

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LubbockGay June 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Good for the Judge!

paganforge June 3, 2014 at 11:44 pm

And let the right-wing shenanigans begin! Again.

mysticmarly June 4, 2014 at 12:28 am

We knew that was true already, but it's nice to hear it from the judge. I wish I could have seen their faces.

rmthunter June 4, 2014 at 6:42 am

I can't take this as any more than grandstanding for the PR kick. I'd say they can't really believe they're going to be granted standing, but then, the lawyers for these groups all seem to be incompetent, so who knows?

XenaAmazon June 4, 2014 at 8:03 am

<div class="idc-message" id="idc-comment-msg-div-838763895"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(838763895)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" target="_new" href="; style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(838763895)">Close MessageI think it has more to do with whining than anything else, and fear of offending evangelicals. I believe this trend started way back when in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) where the dark side began adopting the role of victim in representing the majority. It's unfortunate; and it has led to many years poorly reasoned caselaw. It will be many years before these kinds of decisions can be turned around; and it will take courage from the people on the bench. Unfortunately, many of them are elected, and therefore will follow popular will rather than legal canon.

XenaAmazon June 4, 2014 at 7:57 am

That's conlaw for 1L's. These people have NO standing. I don't understand how these challenges even survive a motion to dismiss. Geez…

bjohnm June 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

I think the idea is, give them their day in court, and reduce the risk of grounds for appeal.

However, I almost wish had let them intervene. That Stemberger guy is a lunatic, so just let them submit their briefs…the language is so over the top, it does more to help our case.

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