Federal judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

Groom figurines are seen on a cake at a ceremony to celebrate the wedding of Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly HillsBy Letitia Stein TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) – A federal judge in north Florida on Thursday struck down the state’s gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling, leaving same-sex couples still unable to marry in the state. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Florida’s Northern District in Tallahassee is the fifth judge in the state to rule against a same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2008, but the first federal judge to do so. “The institution of marriage survived when bans on interracial marriage were struck down, and the institution will survive when bans on same-sex marriage are struck down,” Hinkle wrote. The ruling addressed two lawsuits involving 10 same-sex couples, mostly married in other states and seeking recognition in Florida.

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