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What's Next For Same-Sex Marriage In Florida After Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban?

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A federal judge declared Florida’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee ruled that the 2008 measure defining marriage as only between one man and one woman violates the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Hinkle delayed allowing county clerks to issue licenses, however, pending appeals. The ruling follows similar ones from Florida judges in four other counties.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is anticipated to appeal the ruling, as she has done for the previous decisions.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Greg Pingree, professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, joined Melissa Ross to discuss the ruling and what could be next for the issue here in Florida.

Calling the issue a "hot potato," Pingree said these rulings stem from the 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and that it will most likely eventually return to the high court.

“In most situations where that question is asked I think the answer has to give some qualification, but here I would say it’s definitely heading back to the Supreme Court,” he said. “I don’t think anybody could say otherwise. It’s been brought up in so many different contexts throughout the country.”

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.