Miami-Dade Judge Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

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photo by Phillip Pessar via Miami New Times Flickr group
After three weeks of deliberation, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the Pareto v. Ruvin lawsuit, ruling that same-sex couples in Florida's most densely populated county can receive marriage licenses. That order has been stayed, however, pending an appeal by the state's attorney general.

"We are both beyond excited. Words can't explain really," says Vanessa Alenier, who filed the suit with her partner Melanie. "It's little surreal to look at Melanie and know, we will soon be married in the state we love."

See also: Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in the Florida Keys; Pam Bondi to Appeal

The news from Zabel comes just more than a week after Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia also ruled against the state's ban on same-sex marriage in Key West.

Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed that ruling, however, and Garcia denied a motion to lift his stay on issuing gay couples marriage licenses in the meantime. Zabel has also reportedly issued a stay on her ruling, meaning Miami-Dade gay couples won't be able to nab marriage licenses until the state's appeals are sorted out.

See also: Judge Won't Allow Gay Marriage to Start in the Keys Tomorrow

The Aleniers, who have a five-a-half year old son together, say they'll celebrate the ruling anyway.

"We knew the day would come, but now it's here, we feel pre-wedding excitement," said Melanie. "I hope statewide and county-wide gay and lesbian couples can get married in the places they call home."

Jeffrey Michael Cohen, the attorney who represented the Aleniers and five other couples, argued in their hearing on July 2nd that although 62 percent of voters amended state constitution in 2008 to only recognize marriages between a man and women, that this law discriminates against gay and lesbian couples. The amendment robs them of the same basic dignities and legal protections that heterosexual couples have in the eyes of the law, he argued, making them, "secondhand citizens through [majority] decisions that lessen their dignity."

Assistant Attorney General Adam Tanenbaum, who represented the state, argued that it wasn't up to Zabel to decide whether the voters' decision in 2008 was a good policy, but to respect the state's amended constitution.

But Zabel, like Garcia, has now struck down the state's ban because of concerns that the minority was being deprived of their Constitutional rights. Her ruling states: "The recognition that the right to marry encompasses categories of people not traditionally considered to be accorded that right has been slow in coming, but it has become increasingly obvious that it is not constitutionally permissible to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. The journey of our Nation towards becoming 'a more perfect Union' does not stop at any particular generation; it is instead a fluid process through every generation. ... The Court, therefore, foresees a day when the term 'same-sex marriage' is viewed in the same absurd vein as 'separate but equal' and is thus forsaken and supplanted by ordinary 'marriage.'"

Here's what Garcia had to say on the point: "The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country's proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless... the Constitution guarantees and protects all of its citizens from government interference with those rights."

With Zabel's ruling today, this case, along with the Huntsman v. in Monroe County, (and another also in Miami-Dade County) could lead to the statewide legalization of same-sex marriage -- but only if the Third District Court of Appeals and ultimately the Florida State Supreme Court (and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court) agree with her and Garcia's decision.

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99 comments
samueljackson864
samueljackson864 topcommenter

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Revulu
Revulu

Florida is SO behind the curve. 

Krystal Dee
Krystal Dee

Leanne Sierra WEPAAAA \U0001f46d\U0001f46c\U0001f308

Bonneville Rider
Bonneville Rider

More breaking news.... Florida residents try to drown themselves. Casey outside of the major cities in FLA lies Mississippi and Alabama.....

Brenda Vargas
Brenda Vargas

About time! We need to accept everyone for who they are!!! They are human beings too who deserve to be treated equally.

Lex Dillinger
Lex Dillinger

Abolish marriage for straights and gays! Just say NO

Elba Lopez
Elba Lopez

alaaaaa cuantass personas gayyyy preparense las hemorroidesss y la inflamacion del culitooooo

Aaron Gale
Aaron Gale

Okay. This is some bullshit comments in here. Who in their right mind takes time out of their day to say negative things about gay marriage being legal? These type of people constantly show their true colors. And those colors are going OUT OF THEIR WAY to shun people for their orientation. "This is a terrible time for the USA." "Sad very sad. Sorry god." Do you know what you god taught you? To love thy neighbour. To not hate the sinner, but the sin. And here you are taking the time out of your day to come to the comments thread of a positive message about love equality and happiness to shed your hatred in a feeble attempt to ruin someone's day. By no means am i saying you shouldn't have beliefs. Believe in whatever fictional god you want to. But how dare you project your hatred of love on us. Last i checked holy men were molesting boys, last i checked, Christians waged war on non believers in medieval times. Killing thousands. Last I checked, Christians like you have preached hate for years against people who are different than you. Lets play a scenario out here. Lets say for a minute that Heaven is real. Lets say you (homophobic hate speaker) are standing with me at the gates. And god asks us how we spread love around the world. I say i got married to my partner, never strayed and lived in happiness. You brag to god about how you trolled facebook posting hateful comments about gay marriage because its wrong and sick. I wonder who god would send to hell. Get this through your heteronormative thick skulls. Were born this way. To judge when you know nothing to relate of the struggle we've had. So next time you're going to post something hateful. Ask yourself; "am i helping anyone by saying this?" Ignorant people.

Cassi Sukii
Cassi Sukii

Devon Nicole let's do this \U0001f60a

Kamaruddinkhalid Dinsme
Kamaruddinkhalid Dinsme

Humans Broke Breaking The Justice Rule Laws.....N The World be Destroy Invisible...Becouse The Humans on Rainbow in The Dark Dark Dark.....N down down down Burn In Hell Never Never Never Knocking the heaven Door N Never N Never Ever RIP...............

Mark Russell
Mark Russell

thankfully Anita Bryant is still alive to see this! makes me happy for the woman who caused so much pain for so many

Gabriela Lucero Roy
Gabriela Lucero Roy

Very Happy for my daughters and grandson ❤️is❤️👏👏👏👏👏👏

Carlos Arias
Carlos Arias

Martinez Jose te puedes casar con Felix Francisco Belaunzaran en Miami . Y'all should be happy

Frank Perez Toledo
Frank Perez Toledo

Rest Assure! All Americans will have equal rights!!!! LOVE MIAMI! MY HOME SWEET HOME!

Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo

Liberty and Justice for ALL! #civilrights

Pedro M Ross
Pedro M Ross

Save the confetti for now, Bondi will probably block this action also. This probably won't get settled until it gets to the Florida Supreme court.

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter


“Straight people do a dammn well good job themselves of ruining the sanctity of marriage! 'gays can't get marry because it ruin the sanctity?The right to marry whoever one wishes! The whole line that marriage existed before governments is utter bullshit. You know what marriage was then, it was a contract between a man and the woman's father.It used to be about owning a woman and joining families together for power and property.Why do you care if somebody wants to marry who they love?" Same sex marriage should be legal. The fact that it's illegal is embarrassing.


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