A judge considering a challenge to
Florida's gay marriage ban on Monday told plaintiffs he needed “a
short period of time” to decide whether the case would go to trial.
Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia
opened a hearing for summary judgment by saying that he “will not
be issuing an order from the bench today.”
Aaron Huntsman, 43, and William Lee
Jones, 42, filed the case in April after they were denied a marriage
license by Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin.
The men, bartenders at 801 Bourbon Bar
in Key West, celebrated their 11th year together on June
10 and came to court dressed to play the part of grooms.
In defending the ban, Florida Assistant
Attorney General Adam Tanenbaum told Garcia he should “respect the
policy decision made by voters,” a reference to Amendment 2, a
constitutional amendment prohibiting the state from recognizing any
union other than a heterosexual marriage, which was approved by 62
percent of voters in 2008.
Mathew Staver, chairman of the
Christian conservative Liberty Counsel, was allowed to speak as a
friend of the court and argued that allowing gay couples to marry
would lead to polygamist marriages.
“The plaintiffs' argument is not to
just redefine marriage to include two people of the same sex, the
implications of that is if you include two people of the same sex,
then why can't you have a person of the opposite sex, that also
brings in a same-sex partner into the marriage,” Staver said.
Five additional challenges to the ban
are wending their way through state and federal courts, including one
heard last week.
rights foe compares overturning Florida's gay marriage ban to KKK