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Florida Gay Marriage Ban Overturned By Courts; Jeb Bush Calls For 'Respect on All Sides'

( [email protected] ) Jan 06, 2015 06:37 PM EST

Florida Gay Marriage Ruling
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In another court ruling that has chipped away at the foundations and definitions of traditional marriage, Florida has become the 36th state to lift its ban on same-sex marriage.

The ban, which ended statewide after midnight Monday, has opened up marriage to same-sex couples. Potential presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush attempted to frame the issue from a moderate perspective on Monday.

"Show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue - including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty," Bush said in a statement.

In a short interview with Douglas Hanks and Steve Rothaus of the Miami Herald, Bush thought that any decision to allow same-sex marriages should be made at the local level.

"It ought [to] be a local decision. I mean, a state decision," the former governor said Sunday in a brief interview. "The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it's been overturned by the courts, I guess."

Florida Gay Marriage Vote
In 2008 the state voted to send Obama to Washington, but also voted to ban same-sex marriage with 62% of the vote. Only one county, Monroe, rejected the ban. 

According to the Miami Herald, Bush has opposed same-sex marriage when he served as governor. However, he thought that it was unnecessary to rewrite the Florida Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, which voters successfully passed in 2008, because state law already restricted marriage to heterosexual couples.

"The historic change is bound to bring even more attention to Bush's somewhat guarded take on gay rights," Hanks and Rothaus wrote.

Bush has also argued back in 2013 in a PBS interview that "traditional marriage is what should be sanctioned" by the government, according to the Miami Herald.

According to USA Today, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, declared Florida's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Monday. Pam Bondi, Florida's attorney general, has attempted to uphold the 2008 voter-approved ban through the pursuit of state and federal appeals.

"Her effort to block these weddings until the courts finally rule was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court," USA Today wrote.

A spokesperson for Bondi acknowledged the reality of same-sex marriage in Florida, noting that "the judge has ruled, and we wish these couples the best."

Tim Mak of The Daily Beast noted that more than 70 percent of Americans, totaling more than 200 million people, lived in states that recognized same-sex marriage. The Sunshine State would be the 36th state in the union to recognize same-sex marriages.

As for those who still oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage, Mak thought that the opposition has been "unwilling or unable to make a stand against it." However, Maggie Gallagher, the former president of National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, took a philosophical view on the issue.

"Nothing is inevitable. 'Inevitability' is the progressive substitute for the idea of Divine Providence," Gallagher said. "Either God is in charge, or the future hasn't yet happened and is freely determined. Or God leaves us free."

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy council, talked to USA Today about the ban being lifted. He was responsible for leading the 2008 petition drive to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot.

"The day is going to come very soon where America is going to wake up and say, 'Whoa! Wait a second! I wanted two guys to live together. I didn't want the fundamental transformation of society,'" Stemberger said.

Tags : Florida same-sex marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, Jeb Bush, LGBT rights, gay marriage, alternative lifestyles, traditional marriage