A Florida judge on Tuesday denied three
anti-gay groups permission to intervene in a lawsuit challenging
Florida's ban on gay marriage.
“The proposed intervenors … have no
'personal stake' in defending the Amendment's constitutionality of
the Amendment that is distinguishable from the general interest of
every citizen of Florida,” Judge Sarah Zabel of the Eleventh
Judicial Circuit Court in Miami wrote in her
6-page ruling. “They will not be directly and immediately
affected if others enter into a same-sex marriage, or are prevented
from entering into a same-sex marriage.”
“Like the Petitioners in
Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Proposed Intervenors will suffer
no concrete and particularized injury as a result of this case,”
she added, a reference to the lawsuit which successfully struck down
California's marriage ban, Proposition 8.
The three groups actively supported
passage of Amendment 2, Florida's 2008 voter-approved constitutional
amendment which prohibits the state from recognizing the
relationships of gay couples with civil unions or marriage. The
groups include Florida Family Action, Inc. (FFAI), Florida Democratic
League Inc. (FDL) and People United to Lead the Struggle for
Equality, Inc. (PULSE).
Plaintiffs in the case – six gay
couples and Equality Florida Institute – are being represented by
the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.
Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida
Institute, applauded the move.
“Today Judge Zabel reached the proper
conclusion in denying extremists seeking a platform for their
anti-gay rhetoric the right to intervene in this case,” she said.
“This lawsuit is about fundamental, constitutionally protected
rights that are violated by a measure that does real harm to our
Zabel will hear arguments in the
lawsuit on Wednesday, July 2.