Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi turned heads Monday night when she demanded the Florida Supreme Court make a definitive decision on gay marriage in the Sunshine State.
Currently, gay marriage is legal in 29 U.S. states. Of these, 12 legalized gay marriage this month alone, according to CNN. Bondi is arguing that Florida’s citizens need a firm and permanent answer regarding gay marriage, as soon as possible, and she couldn’t be more right.
In 2008, Florida saw a ban on gay marriage, which was ruled unconstitutional this summer by judges in separate rulings across the state. Oddly enough, Bondi was the one holding up the Florida Supreme Court rulings on the issue while also defending the marriage ban.
Following Bondi’s opposition, Equality Florida, a civil rights organization that focuses on the issue of gay marriage, urged her to “stop defending discrimination,” claiming she was wasting taxpayers’ money.
The 2010 U.S. Census reported there were 65,000 same-sex households across the state of Florida, many of which were families with children. With Florida’s tumultuous wave of bans and appeals, these families are being told that their households are illegitimate.
Frankly, the whole situation harkens back to the days of Anita Bryant, the former singer and beauty queen who led the 1977 “Save Our Children” campaign in Dade County with the goal of repealing an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. While Bondi may use a different framing, the
message of blatant discrimination remains.
The Sunshine State Survey published by the USF College of Arts and Sciences reports 40 percent of respondents felt that legalizing gay marriage in Florida is a step in the right direction, while 31 percent felt that it would be a wrong decision. Of those who disagreed with legalizing same-sex marriage, 44 percent were ages 65 and older.
Aside from providing committed individuals with the civil rights they’re entitled to, legalizing gay marriage would help curb the deficit and bring in between $20 million and $40 million dollars in taxes, according to The Huffington Post.
It’s time for Florida to follow the lead of the 12 other states that have joined the right side of history this month and definitively legalize same-sex marriage. The couples and families that have lived through the false hope of equality deserve an answer, once and for all.