Fla. judge hears same-sex marriage ban arguments

6 same-sex couples from South Fla. challenging 2008 constitutional amendment

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MIAMI - Attorneys for gay couples and the state of Florida are squaring off at a hearing on a lawsuit challenging Florida's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel began hearing arguments Wednesday afternoon in the high-profile case.

A lawsuit challenging the ban was filed by six same-sex couples from South Florida in January.

Like others filed across the country, the lawsuit contends the gay marriage ban added by voters to the state constitution is discriminatory and violates equal protection guarantees.

Attorney General Pam Bondi's office counters that a single judge should not overturn the amendment that passed in 2008. Bondi's attorneys also argue the U.S. Supreme Court has left marriage definitions to the states.

Zabel is being asked strike down the same-sex marriage ban before a trial. It's not clear when she might rule and an appeal is certain.

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