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US Judge Strikes Down Florida Gay Marriage Ban

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File photo of a gavel in court.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a gavel in court. (Credit: Thinkstock)

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MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge has declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining state judges in four counties who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled Thursday that the ban added to Florida’s constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gaycouples.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed the previous rulings striking down the ban in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. Hinkle’s ruling allows time for appeals in the federal case.

A number of similar rulings around the country have been put on hold while appeals are pursued.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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