Earlier this week, a Miami-Dade circuit judge struck down Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, the second time a Florida judge ruled in favor of marriage equality in July. Despite the court’s stay on the decision pending an appeal, this ruling signifies the way our country’s attitude regarding same-sex marriage is shifting. Judge Sarah Zabel’s recent ruling lends even more momentum to the fight for universal marriage equality in the United States.
According to the Human Rights Campaign blog, “There are more than 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 30 of the 31 states where such a ban exists, plus Puerto Rico,” of the work that is being done on a legal level to provide the freedom to marry for all couples. Many political analysts have pointed out that support for marriage equality continues to grow in nearly every demographic group. This includes both Democrats and Republicans, the latter of which has held a historically anti same-sex marriage stance.
Happily, these attitudes are shifting. Ken Mehlman, a conservative marriage equality activist and prominent political consultant, has been instrumental in encouraging more Republicans to change their stance on same-sex marriage. Mehlman, along with the Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin, Dustin Lance Black, and others, have helped to bring marriage equality to the political forefront through their work on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), an organization that contributed greatly to the overturning of California’s Proposition 8. Now, the freedom to marry has become a high priority across the board, with policymakers joining the fight for marriage equality to avoid being “on the wrong side of history.”
Right now, same-sex couples can legally wed in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, while 31 states have a law or constitutional amendment preventing these unions. As the Human Rights Campaign blog pointed out, in those remaining 31 states where same-sex marriage is prohibited, motions are being made to overturn discriminatory bans, and rulings like the recent ones in Florida are only helping to strengthen the mission of marriage equality activists.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done in courtrooms across the nation, the momentum within the fight for marriage equality is palpable.
Image: via Freedom To Marry