MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A hearing for a high-profile lawsuit which challenges Florida’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage took place Wednesday in Miami.
Attorneys for gay couples and the state of Florida squared off at the afternoon hearing scheduled by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel who heard arguments in the case.
Like others filed across the country, the lawsuit contends the gay marriage ban added by voters to the state constitution is discriminatory and violates equal protection guarantees.
Dozens flooded the hallway Wednesday afternoon in support of both
Right now 19 states have allowed gay marriage but 6 gay couples that filed the lawsuit hope Florida will be the 20th.
“Marriage is a fundamental freedom,” said plaintiffs attorney Sylvia Walbolt.
One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said simply, it’s their right to be wed.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office counters that a single judge should not overturn the amendment that passed in 2008. Bondi’s attorneys also argue the U.S. Supreme Court has left marriage definitions to the states.
“They have that right.. This court can’t decide if that’s a good or bad policy,” said Adam Tannenbaum from the Attorney General’s office.
Before the hearing both sides met on the courthouse steps and reps from conservative groups spoke.
“Go back to the voters and let them have a say as to if this is a bad law,” said Anthony Verdugo from the Christian Coalition.
CBS4’s Cynthia Demos met with one of the six couples named in the lawsuit Jeff and Todd Delmay.
“I feel great. I feel it’s the first giant step to resolution. I feel we have our day in court it feels good,” said Jeff Delmay.
The couple’s been together 11 years. They adopted a baby together. Blake is now 4-years old. Adoption for gay couples was legalized three years ago and they say it’s time courts legalized marriage as well.
“I thought this would take months or years. I was surprised at how quickly it’s moved just like how quickly public opinion has changed,” said Todd Delmay.
Harvey Ruvin, the clerk of court is listed as defendant in the case. He says in the end he will do whatever he is instructed to do.
Zabel is being asked strike down the same-sex marriage ban before a trial. It’s not clear when she might rule and an appeal is certain.
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