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Updated at 6:01 p.m. EST to include quotation from FRC. 

The Associated Press is reporting that a federal judge appointed by President Clinton has ruled Florida's marriage amendment unconstitutional.

In a decision released this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that the amendment — adopted by voters in 2008 – violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in two ways: equal protection and due process.

Hinkle immediately issued a stay to his ruling, meaning that the amendment remain in place for now.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued a stay on a ruling that would have otherwise forced Virginia to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses.  

The AP notes that Hinkle's 33-page decision compared laws against interracial couples to those against redefining marriage. “When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination.”

“To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down,” he continued, “the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Defenders of marriage say that argument is flawed, as interracial couples still share a complementarity and ability to procreate that members of the same-sex lack.

Family Research Council Senior Fellow Chris Gacek said, “The people's voice and vote need to be respected to preserve the rule of law. Judge Hinkle assumes that the marriage debate will disappear – the same wrong conclusion made in 1973 by the judges who imposed abortion-on-demand.”

“Judge Hinkle can't erase the reality that children need a mom and dad. He also can't wish away the very serious consequences that marriage redefinition has for free speech and religious liberty. Far from live-and-let-live, the redefinition of marriage is forcing people to violate the basic teachings of their faith, or lose their livelihood,” he said.

“A radical departure from natural law and human history, this Florida judge has further undermined the legitimacy of the courts in the eyes of the American people. These liberal activist judges may want to take America over the cultural cliff, but don't be surprised when more and more Americans refuse to follow,” Gacek said.

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