Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Important Ruling in the Florida Marriage Equality Case

According to the Christian Family Coalition of Florida, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle denied a motion to intervene by Florida Family Association on the grounds that “[n]o FFA member seeks to enter a same-sex-marriage or will be directly affected if others enter same-sex marriages.”

Federal law permits parties to join a lawsuit without the consent of the original plaintiff or defendant. According to the rules of civil procedure (in essence), a court must grant a motion to intervene if the party claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action where intervention is required to adequately protect those interests.

In this instance, the court has basically concluded that the only people affected by same-sex marriage are those thus wed. By logical extension, the state has no demonstrable interest in prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage. Marriage discrimination would seem to be done. Of course (assuming that conclusion) this will be one of the many cases that the Supreme Court might consider in its next term.

A note on Florida's fundamentalist Christian Organizations:

Florida has numerous Christian advocacy organizations. Florida Family Association, mentioned above, is the one-man hate factory run by David Caton. He is the guy who pays for airplane banners flying around Orlando "warning" parents of gay days at Disney.

This is not to be confused with Florida Family Council, the organization run by John Stemberger. Stemberger is also the guy who started the homosexual free Christian scouting program, Trail Life USA.

Christian Family Coalition, based in Miami, is the looniest of the bunch. They do not appear to be a tax-exempt organization but they make a great deal of noise. Their unhinged reaction to this matter was almost comical:
Judge Hinkle is sworn to uphold the U.S. and Florida Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee to equal protection and due process. However, Hinkle has violated his oath of office by deciding he does not want to hear from Florida Family Action Committee and the eight million Florida voters who cast their ballot on the Florida marriage amendment. This preliminary ruling violates the equal protection and due process rights of ALL Florida voters. Therefore, his claim that no FFA member seeks to enter a same-sex-marriage or will be directly affected if others enter same-sex marriages is false. What is true is that no Floridian will be directly or indirectly affected if U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle is impeached.
Florida Family Action is one crackpot not to mention that civil rights are not supposed to be subject to the whims of the electorate. Equal protection and due process? I find it hard to believe that CFC wants to go there. After all, those are the foundation of the ruling in United States v. Windsor and rulings in a number of federal courts since Windsor. The notion that FFA must be permitted to intervene to afford equal protection and due process to Florida citizens is patently absurd. The citizens are represented in this matter by the state's attorney general.
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