U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle declared that the ban is in violation of the 14th Amendment, which promises equal protection and due process.
"When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination," Hinkle wrote in his ruling. "To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."
No marriage licenses will be immediately issued and other gay couples legal marriages from other states will not be immediately recognized.
"We're very pleased to see the ban held unconstitutional in such unequivocal terms so that all Florida families will soon finally have the same protections," said ACLU staff attorney Daniel Tilley.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, has appealed previous rulings that strike down the ban. The judge’s ruling allows time for appeals.
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court has delayed an appeals court decision that would end Virginia’s gay marriage ban and a same-sex marriage case in Utah.
Publication date: August 22, 2014