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07/07/2014

Liberty Counsel's Staver compares FL's discriminatory marriage ban to drug laws

by Jeremy Hooper

Florida's Republican Attorney General, Pam Bondi, has earned all kinds of negative press for her brief saying that marriage equality in the Sunshine State would cause "significant public harm." But just like he once went after the Prop 8 legal team for not being anti-gay enough, Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver is now Artworks-000082004591-Z5Ufuw-T500X500claiming that Bondi is not being aggressive enough in her efforts to stop gay citizens from obtaining marriage parity. And to make his case against both the ban and the apparently too-mealy-mouthed Bondi, Staver is directly comparing marriage bans with laws that single out "heroine [sic] users." Have a look:

Tavernier, FL— Today, Mat Staver is back in a Florida Keys’ court intervening in the second challenge to Florida’s Marriage Protection Amendment, Huntsman v. Heavlin. The Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel is representing Florida Family Action, Florida Democratic League, and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality in this case.

“Memorializing the natural definition of marriage into our law is not sexual discrimination, any more than requiring young people to wait until they are 16 before they can engage in intimate sexual relations is age discrimination,” Staver said. “Both are about protecting children and society. Laws that single out those who want to engage in a harmful behavior, like drug laws that discriminate against heroine [sic] users, are not unlawful discrimination but rather compassionate public policy,” said Staver.

“Far from promoting unequal treatment of the sexes or unlawful discrimination, marriage as the union of one man and one woman acknowledges the inherent complementarity of the sexes and provides the best environment for children to be raised with a mom and a dad,” Staver told the court.

“The future of civilized society depends on protecting permanence and exclusivity in family structure,” Staver said. “The people of Florida could rationally find that the risks to family stability posed by redefining marriage to include same-sex couples are not a price they are willing to pay.”

This case began when a homosexual couple from Key West sued the Monroe Clerk of the Court Amy Heavlin for administering the law passed by 60% of Florida voters. Heavlin took a neutral position on the case and addressed the court for only two minutes.

Liberty Counsel is carrying the weight of defending the Florida Marriage Amendment. “Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is giving only window dressing to the Florida Marriage Amendment,” said Staver. Bondi sent one of her staff attorneys to argue the case against the constitutional amendment, and her office filed a short, 14-page brief only a week before the court date. “If Attorney General Pam Bondi does not want to present a vigorous defense, she owes it to the voters of Florida to step down and allow someone else to represent the interests of the State,” Staver said.

“I call on Governor Rick Scott to get off the sidelines and appoint an independent counsel who can adequately represent the people of Florida,” Staver urged.
FULL:
Liberty Counsel Back in Florida Court Defending Natural Marriage [LC]

Well yeah, the anti-equality side surely would be well served to get some new counsel in the mix—though not for the reasons Staver suggests. The truth is that they need someone to step in so that some lawyer other than Staver will be speaking for that side. I mean, either way, the equality side will eventually win because equality is the winning stance. However, with Staver at the helm talking the way that he does, the pro-equality side's lawyers can basically just sit back and eat popcorn while the Liberty Counsel top dog does their work for them.

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