Liberty Counsel pledges to defend Florida’s Marriage Protection Amendment
Same-sex couples file for repeal of Florida law
Jan 21, 2014
By JONI B. HANNIGAN

MIAMI (FBW)-Orlando-based Liberty Counsel has reaffirmed its support of the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment passed by 62.5 percent of the voters and added to Florida’s state constitution in 2008.

Following a lawsuit filed by Equality Florida and six same-sex couples against the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, was joined by Anita Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, in announcing their support in fighting any attempt to change the current constitutional language. The state court complaint, according to a news release, raises federal claims of due process and equal protection.

“Liberty Counsel will help to defend the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment. This amendment affirms the natural created order of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Mat Staver said. “Marriage between a man and a woman forms the foundation of society and provides the best environment in which to raise children. It is a fact—children do best when raised by a mother and a father.”

Staver, a member of First Baptist Church in Orlando, and whose international non-profit organization has advanced religious freedom and the sanctity of human life and the family since 1989, provides pro bono assistance and representation on related issues.

“Same-sex marriage laws are having catastrophic consequences for religious freedom and our civil society,” Staver said. “Redefining marriage has destructive effects on children, family and freedom.”

Staver drafted the original amendment that he defended before the Florida Supreme Court, and he successfully fought the attempts of the American Civil Liberties Union to keep it off the ballot.

The amendment reads: “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.”

Bill Bunkley, president of the Florida Ethic and Religious Liberty Commission, said without looking at the specific language of the lawsuit, he is unable to offer a detailed response, but affirmed his support of the original effort.

“Nothing will hinder our efforts to continue to contend for biblical values in the public square as it relates to the sanctity of marriage,” Bunkley said.

John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Policy Council, said the organization will “vigorously defend the victory of 2008.”

“We look forward to a robust debate on this issue as it make its way through the courts,” Stemberger said.

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