May 30, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Fla. attorney general: Same-sex marriage would ‘harm’ state

Pam Bondi, Florida, gay news, Washington Blade

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (Photo public domain)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi earlier this month argued in court documents that the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions would “irreparably harm” her state.

“An injunction would irreparably harm the state of Florida,” she wrote in a 34-page motion she filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee on May 12 that seeks the dismissal of a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed in March on behalf of eight same-sex couples who are seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriages. “Plaintiffs seek to enjoin a duly enacted constitutional amendment and statutory law. Enjoining democratically enacted legislation harms state officials by restraining them from implementing the will of the people that they represent.”

Florida voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Gov. Rick Scott, who is among the other state officials named as defendants in the lawsuit, earlier this year reiterated his support of the marriage amendment. Both he and Bondi — a twice-divorced Republican — are seeking re-election this year.

Bondi argues there has been a “clear and essential connection between marriage and responsible procreation and childrearing.”

“The promotion of family continuity and stability is a legitimate state interest,” she said.

“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 to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units,” adds Bondi.

Bondi says “disrupting” the state’s “existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm.”

“Florida’s discriminatory laws cause serious harm to real families across the state,” said Daniel Tilley of the ACLU of Florida as the Associated Press reported. “Despite the state’s assertion that the harms to same-sex married couples aren’t significant enough to warrant relief, the families living every day being treated like legal strangers by their home state know better.”

Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, urged Bondi to reconsider her position.

“A defense of the indefensible only squanders our state’s resources and delays justice for hundreds of thousands of Florida families,” said the group.

Tony Lima, executive director of Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE,) a South Florida LGBT advocacy group, echoed Equality Florida.

“As the voice of South Florida’s LGBT community, we at SAVE know this issue affects many loving, committed same-sex couples married elsewhere but currently living in Florida,” he said. “Attorney General Bondi should know that what truly causes public harm is discriminatory rhetoric that divides Floridians instead of uniting them.”

The case is among the dozens of federal marriage lawsuits that have been filed since the U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Gays and lesbians in 19 states and D.C. are currently able to marry. Illinois’ same-sex marriage law takes effect on Sunday.

More than a dozen federal and state judges have ruled in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples since the DOMA decision.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

4 Comments
  • Bondi’s position that bringing Marriage Equality to Florida will cause great harm is an unsubstantiated lie. Not allowing same sex marriage is unconstitutional and does great harm to those families seeing full protection of civil rights.

  • This from Bondi’s Wikipedia page: “Bondi was married to Garret Barnes from 1990 to 1992, and to Scott Fitzgerald from 1997 to 2002. She is currently engaged to ophthalmologist Greg Henderson; they held an unofficial (non-binding) ceremony in the Cayman Islands on May 26, 2012. Be interesting to know her definition of a “stable and enduring” family unit.

  • usua repub garbage and this bitch has been married multiple times – showing her support for traditional marriage,

    Repubs pandering to their base of typically racists in Northern FL, with a new group to hate – the gay people

    BTW while the regenerus report has been thoroughly trashed by the southern poverty law center re gays raising children, the biggest and most thorough report on this issue showed that given equal sociological and economic parity, gays do just as well or better then str8 couples

  • I believe the argument would be to show facts that same-sex marriage harmed the state’s that have legalized it. If she could prove other states have been harmed, then (and only then), would she have a foot to stand on.

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