On Friday about 5:30 p.m., Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel ruled in favor of the six homosexual couples who served as plaintiffs in the matter of Pareto v. Ruvin. Gay-rights activist groups organized the lawsuit and "forum shopped" by filing the lawsuit in the most liberal legal jurisdiction in the state with the hope of finding a left-leaning judge who would say Florida's law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional.
This is the second lawsuit this month where an activist judge in Florida is attempting to advance same-sex marriage with the stroke of a pen instead of honoring and respecting the controlling authorities of the highest law of the land. In her 36-page decision, Zabel relied uniquely on Loving vs. Virgina, where the Supreme Court of the United States in 1967 ruled that the laws prohibiting interracial marriages were unconstitutional.
John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council, made the following statement regarding the Zabel's ruling:
"It is fiction to think that Florida's marriage laws have somehow been declared finally unconstitutional by the local rulings of mere local trial judges. The fact is that Florida's marriage laws are still constitutional and in full force. The federal courts, and indeed the Supreme Court of the United States, have not given the final word on this matter, and we expect the Miami ruling to be immediately appealed by Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi.
"Instead of following Florida's law and constitution, Judge Zabel fell into line with other activist judges around the country who are completely ignoring the rule of law and substituting their own political opinions in place of clear controlling legal authority. Judge Zabel's reliance on Loving vs. Virginia is completely misplaced. Race is not an inherent property of marriage, but gender is.
"Loving affirmed the definition of natural marriage as between one man and one woman by ruling that any man can marry any woman irrespective of race. We are confident that when the final word comes from the U.S. Supreme Court that they will find that states have the right to define marriage."
Zabel also stayed her own order, which means that in spite of her opinion that Florida's marriage laws are unconstitutional, the clerk of the court in Miami-Dade County will not be issuing marriage licenses until the matter is fully heard by the appellate and federal courts.
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