Eladio Jose Armesto, chairman of the
Florida Democracy League, on Wednesday compared overturning Florida's
ban on gay marriage to a KKK lynching.
Armesto, a leading opponent of marriage
equality, made his comments to reporters outside the courthouse where
a federal judge was hearing arguments in a challenge to Florida's
restrictive marriage ban.
“Her judgment would be null and
said of the judge striking down the ban. “No one can rule
against the constitution. She would be doing no more or no less than
the Ku Klux Klan did in the early part of the last century, where
they hanged people for going out to vote. The people of Florida have
voted. The judge is able to respect that vote, uphold the rule of
law and uphold the constitution.”
Florida voters in 2008 approved a
constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union.
“This is nothing more than a judicial
lynching of the people of Florida. This is a mockery of justice,
it's a travesty. The judge should have thrown this lawsuit out
because it violates her authority, her dignity, and her integrity as
a member of the judiciary,” he added.
Democratic leaders criticized Armesto's
“I am deeply disturbed by the
comments made in an apparent attempted intimidation of the
judiciary,” said state Senator Christopher L. Smith. “They have
no place in our community or our judicial system.”
Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings called
Armesto's comments “completely outrageous.”
“We must not let the pages of history
turn backwards on equality for all Americans,” he said. “It is
high time that we afford all individuals the same rights, benefits
and protections, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender
identity or gender expression.”