The New Year challenges to natural marriage stormed Florida this week. As a result of the purposeful misinterpretation of Judge Hinkle’s now infamous “clarification” in the federal case Brenner v. Scott, clerks of court throughout Florida began today issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, disregarding their oaths to uphold the Florida Constitution. And despite appeals of Judge Hinkle’s ruling and the state court marriage cases waiting to be heard, Florida Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel yesterday lifted her own stay in one of those cases, Pareto v. Ruvin, to allow same-sex “marriages” to begin immediately in Miami-Dade County.
Judge Zabel’s conduct is especially troubling because, after announcing her ruling to applause and cheers in her courtroom, Judge Zabel then officiated the “marriages” of four of the plaintiffs in the case, destroying any impression of impartiality. The case before Judge Zabel is still live and on appeal, but no one can even pretend now that she is not sympathetic and partial to the litigants over whose “marriages” she presided.
“A judge must always be impartial towards the parties in a case and is required to avoid even the appearance of partiality,” said Roger Gannam, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel. “This kind of conduct erodes the public’s quickly fading confidence in the legitimacy of our courts,” he added.
“We are witnessing a decay of the rule of law,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and author of the Florida Marriage Amendment. “Judges are lawlessly conducting same-sex marriages. Judge Zabel should be ashamed and should face an inquiry, because her act of performing same-sex marriages for the litigants over which she presides betrays the public trust that judges should be impartial. Judge Zabel should be impeached.”
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