A New Dawn for Marriage Equality in Florida
Editor’s Note: Congressman Joe Garcia represents Florida’s 26th District, covering Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. Mr. Garcia was first elected to Congress in 2012. This piece was originally published in the Miami Herald on June 16, 2014 and can be seen in its entirety here.
It’s a historic time for marriage equality in the United States.
In the past few weeks, federal judges in deeply conservative states, like Arkansas and Idaho, have ruled that the Constitution cannot bar same-sex couples from the freedom to marry. Since the Supreme Court’s refusal to defend DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) last summer, 17 different state and federal judges have ruled in favor of marriage – and zero have ruled that same-sex couples should continue to be excluded from marriage.
While last year’s DOMA ruling was a step in the right direction, by no means does the fight for marriage equality end there. That decision was just the tipping point. We must continue to both celebrate and double down our efforts to make sure that all people are treated with dignity, respect and equality.”
Right here in Florida, numerous legal challenges are making their way through state and federal courts as loving, deserving couples fight to protect their families and the basic freedom to marry who they love.
Famila es Famila, a national advocacy group, is one of the organizations dedicated to educating the public about this issue and is working to create strong allies with Hispanic communities across the country. Here in Florida, their goal is to ensure that our LGBT Floridians feel welcomed and accepted, regardless of their sexual preference and orientation.
Recent polls show that this work is paying off, as a full 57% of Florida voters support marriage for same-sex couples. As Hispanics, as Southerners, and as Floridians, we represent the national trend that recognizes that it is wrong to exclude people from marriage just because of whom they love. We must continue to foster that support and the LGBT community.
We Floridians care deeply about our families, our loved ones, and our friends. No matter who we are, where we came from, or whom we love, we all have a home in this great state. We are part of the greater American family – all deserving of the same liberty and justice that our nation was founded upon. Together, let’s make sure that all Floridians feel at home by bringing the freedom to marry to our great state.