Liberty Counsel Defends Florida Marriage Protection Amendment in Court


MIAMI, FL – Today, Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, is presenting oral argument before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel in defense of the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment in the case of Pareto v. Ruvin.

In January twelve individuals filed a lawsuit in Miami, arguing that the marriage amendment violates the United States Constitution. Liberty Counsel represents Florida Family Action, Florida Democratic League, and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality in this case. The brief text is here.

The Florida Marriage Protection Amendment states, “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.” With these 27 words, the people of Florida affirmed that an institution that has existed for several thousand years in human societies is a foundational institution that should be memorialized in the state’s foundational governing document, the Florida Constitution.

“The people of Florida rationally could conclude that the foundational social institution upon which society is built and that promotes fidelity, permanency, more healthful relationships and complementary child-rearing warrants memorializing the definition as the union of one man and one woman in the Constitution,” Staver asserted. “The Florida Marriage Amendment memorializes — but does not create — the definition of marriage. Marriage is defined by its nature and predates government, which is limited to relating marriage in accordance with its natural, historical definition.”

Staver warned, “The future of civilized society depends on protecting permanence and exclusivity in family structure. 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.” Staver concluded, “Far from promoting unequal treatment of the sexes or discrimination, marriage as the union of one man and one woman acknowledges the inherent complementary nature of the sexes, which permits the perpetuation of humanity and fosters true equality and value.”

In 2008, 62.5 percent of Floridians voted to amend their state constitution to reaffirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Mat and Anita Staver, Liberty Counsel’s Chairman and President, respectively, drafted Amendment 2, and Mat successfully defended it against pre-election legal challenges, ultimately winning unanimous approval (7-0) by the Florida Supreme Court.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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