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Politics / Issues
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Democrats Fight To Repeal Same Sex Marriage Ban In Florida Statute

close-up of one hand putting a ring on another person's hand
Lawmakers are fighting to repeal a Florida law that bans same sex marriage -- a law that some say is only symbolic because states can't stop such marriages.
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Wedding beautiful lesbian couple in love getting married concept of marriage equality

Lawmakers are working to repeal a Florida law that bans same sex marriage. State courts can’t stop same sex couples from getting married due to a 2015 federal ruling. But LGBTQ advocates worry if that ruling ever gets repealed, same sex marriages in Florida won’t be protected.

Lawmakers are fighting to repeal a Florida law that bans same sex marriage. The statute’s power rests mainly in symbolism as state courts can’t stop same sex couples from getting married due to a 2015 federal ruling. But LGBTQ advocates worry that if the federal ruling ever gets repealed, same sex couples won’t be protected. That’s because Florida statute still defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“While this statute is really not in use right now, we don’t want anyone to ever fall back on it and take our state backwards,” Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton) says.

Polsky along with Rep. Michelle Rayner-Goolsby (D-St. Petersburg) have filed bills that would scrub language defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Rayner-Goolsby says the marriage she has with her wife feels threatened by the language.

“It’s not just a bill to do, but it’s a bill that’s personal. It’s a bill that affects my family, it affects so many friends of mine and family members of mine,” Rayner-Goolsby says.

For the past several years, Democrats have tried and failed to strike out the same sex marriage ban. Polsky says at first, she was optimistic her bill would move forward this year, but after speaking to Republican leadership, she getting it heard this session will likely be an uphill battle.

“I think deep in many people’s hearts, you know, I think the majority of legislators would be happy to pass this. I think it’s just not something that they’re comfortable discussing and putting up for a debate and perhaps flying in the face of some people who disagree with these kinds of marriages,” Polsky says.

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