Last week, a federal judge struck down Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, employing what The Advocate calls “eloquent, unequivocal language to side with equality.” Adam Polaski of Freedom to Marry breaks down the ruling, explaining, “[On] August 21, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Florida, the first federal judge to strike down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. His ruling follows four previous state court rulings in favor of marriage for same-sex couples in Florida earlier this summer,” writes Polaski of the historic decision.
One of the most compelling portions of Hinkle’s ruling reads as follows: “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 obviously pretext for discrimination. Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held. […] To paraphrase a civil-rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was first struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Although there are glaring differences between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement that was led by the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whom Hinkle quoted in his ruling, there have been connections drawn between the two, particularly when social critics discuss “being on the right side of history.” Hinkle seems to come to this conclusion in his ruling, especially when he notes how archaic and prejudiced anti-marriage equality viewpoints will appear to future generations.
In addition to Hinkle’s moral stance on marriage equality, his devotion to the law also informed his decision. In his ruling he explains, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the fundamental right to marry,” of how marriage bans are inherently unconstitutional given the Supreme Court’s overarching stance on marriage equality.
Hinkle’s historic decision marks the 38th pro-marriage court ruling since June 2013.