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Florida judge strikes down state's same-sex marriage ban

LGBT protesters in Florida.
LGBT protesters in Florida.
Getty Images

A Florida judge on Thursday ruled the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. But the ruling won't take effect until the case works through the appeals process.

Like other judges that have struck down states' same-sex marriage bans, Florida Circuit Judge Luis Garcia cited the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause to justify his decision.

"This court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage," Garcia wrote, "but it is our country's proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular, and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority."

The judge, however, put the decision on hold as it works through the appeals process, like other same-sex marriage cases before this one.

Garcia's decision is just the latest in a chain of victories for LGBT advocates around the country after the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on same-sex marriages. Most recently, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and judges in Colorado, Indiana, and Wisconsin ruled in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

Update: This post was updated to reflect the judge's decision to stay his decision as it works through the appeals process.