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Challengers to the state’s ban on gay marriage argued to a Miami-Dade circuit judge on Wednesday afternoon that the issue is inexplicably tied to same-sex couples’ right to adopt and raise families, a right the courts granted in 2010.
“This is really what it comes down to,” said attorney Jeffrey Cohen, a partner at Carlton Fields Jorden Burt representing the challengers. “It’s about the right of a person to chose who to love.”
He told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel that the ban on same-sex marriage passed by Florida voters in 2008 smacks of the “tyranny of the majority” and instills a second-class citizenship upon gay couples and their children.
Six couples filed suit against Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin, who issues marriage licenses and has taken no position on the litigation. They want Zabel to grant their petition on summary judgment.
Florida is now one of several states caught up in legal challenges on the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last summer.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office was represented at the hearing by Chief Deputy Solicitor Adam Tanenbaum. He urged Zabel not to “second-guess the voters” on their decision to ban gay marriage in 2008.
Conservative religious groups opposing the ban flooded Zabel’s courtroom, a spillover room and the lobby. They wore “Respect our Vote” stickers on their shirts. The groups have tried to put pressure on Zabel not to overturn the law and on Ruvin not to abide by her ruling if she does.