LGBT Marriage Comes to Florida, Illegally Says Public Interest Lawyers

AP Photo/J Pat Carter
AP Photo/J Pat Carter

In one fell swoop, a Florida state judge in Miami-Dade County lifted her own stay that had temporarily halted LGBT marriage in her county, and then immediately proceeded to perform a marriage ceremony for the four plaintiffs in the case she had heard.

One legal expert in Florida told Breitbart News, “She is supposed to be impartial, but clearly she is not.” He said the lawsuit is still live and pending. “In theory the court of appeals could kick it back to her. So here we have a judge who is cozy cozy with the plaintiffs, and she is still the one to decide future matters in the case. Judges are to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”

Liberty Counsel, a public interest law firm, raised an alarm last week that a Federal Circuit Judge would make a decision that would give a green light to county clerks around Florida to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples even though Florida law makes it a misdemeanor to do so.

US District Judge Robert Hinkle had stayed his own decision striking down the Florida law, and then he lifted it last week and, in his decision, said country clerks around Florida should begin issuing licenses. Liberty Counsel pointed out, and Judge Hinkle agreed, that his decision only affected the gay couple in that case and did not affect any other Florida County. That did not stop the media from reporting that Hinkle had legalized gay marriage around the state.

The media widely reported that Hinkle’s decision opened the floodgates to gay marriage in Florida. Harry Wihet of Liberty Counsel told Breitbart News that county clerks around Florida have begun to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

The Miami Herald reported “Federal ruling clears way for same-sex marriage in Florida starting on Tuesday.”

The Palm Beach Post reported, “Gay marriage will begin across Florida on Tuesday.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported, “Judge Hinkle says all 67 counties may issue marriage licenses to gay couples.”

In anticipation of the deluge of county clerks ignoring the law, Liberty Council filed three separate motions against clerks who had announced they would begin issuing licenses to LGBTs. The motions in Manatee County and Osceola County were immediately denied. The third, for Orange County, has been referred to the Florida Supreme Court.

“We are witnessing a decay of the rule of law,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and author of the Florida Marriage Amendment. “Judges are lawlessly conducting same-sex marriages. Judge Zabel should be ashamed and should face an inquiry, because her act of performing same-sex marriages for the litigants over which she presides betrays the public trust that judges should be impartial. Judge Zabel should be impeached.”