Trump Legal Adviser Once Argued Gay Marriage Would Cause “Significant Harm” To Florida

President Donald Trump’s legal team includes former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who once argued in court documents that recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states would disrupt existing marriage laws and “impose significant public harm.”

The legal brief, which was filed in response to a lawsuit brought by eight same-sex couples and the American Civil Liberties Union, also argued that allowing gay marriage would “create significant problems for the state’s pension and health insurance programs.”

Bondi, a Republican who was named in the lawsuit along with fellow GOP Gov. Rick Scott and other state officials, filed a lengthy response that asked a federal judge to throw out the lawsuit for several reasons, saying a federal court shouldn’t rule on a state’s marriage laws.

In response to the public outrage over her legal brief, the twice-divorced Attorney General claimed she was only trying to defend a 2008 Florida law banning same-sex marriage because it is her responsibility as Attorney general given her oath of office and to “make good faith legal arguments.”

According to court documents, Bondi also suggested that same-sex couples are not capable of providing children with stable or enduring homes: “Florida’s marriage laws, then, have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society’s legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units.”

Florida’s Sun-Sentinel at the time tore into Bondi’s defense of the discriminatory law, writing: “Bondi’s definition of family is nothing short of insulting to the same-sex couples who have adopted and raised children. It also makes you wonder how she feels about heterosexual couples who marry, but don’t have children. Does the state frown upon them, too?”

Equality Florida, an advocacy group for Florida’s gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual community, called Bondi’s letter “deplorable.”

“The only Florida families suffering harm are the LGBT families who continue to be discriminated against. Pam Bondi is on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of Florida public opinion,” wrote Nadine Smith, head of the organization.

Politico notes: “While Bondi has said it was her duty to fight until the end, her legal approach wasn’t shared in 2014 by another Republican state attorney general, Tom Horne of Arizona, who said it was ‘unethical’ to continue to fight for his state’s gay-marriage ban when it was clear it would be a lost cause. Like Bondi, Horne defended his state’s ban. But unlike her, he stopped after it was repeatedly ruled unconstitutional.”

“Both the Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled against us, and the United States Supreme Court has shown an unwillingness to accept review in the case of three other circuits in essentially identical circumstances,” Horne said in a written statement on Oct. 17, 2014. “Lawyers live under a rule called Rule 11, which provides that it is unethical for a lawyer to file a pleading for purposes of delay rather than to achieve a result,” Horne said. “The probability of persuading the 9th Circuit to reverse today’s decision is zero. The probability of the United States Supreme Court accepting review of the 9th circuit decision is also zero.”

“Two months after Horne issued his statement, Bondi went the opposite direction. Her office petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Florida’s gay-marriage ban after a federal court refused to temporarily block same-sex unions in Florida,” Politico adds.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper later confronted Bondi in a television interview, asking her to respond to Florida residents who called her a “hypocrite” for portraying herself as an advocate for the gay community after the Orlando terror attack even though she persisted in a protracted and unsuccessful legal fight to preserve Florida’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

“I talked to a lot of gay and lesbian people here who are not fans of yours and who thought you were being a hypocrite,” Cooper said during an interview with Bondi. “You said in court that gay people, simply by fighting for marriage equality, were trying to do harm to the people of Florida.”

Bondi said she was simply upholding the constitution, saying the ban is “not a law.”

“That was voted into the state constitution by the voters of Florida,” Bondi told Cooper. “That’s what I was defending … I never said I don’t like gay people.”

Cooper continued to press Bondi on whether her argument that gay marriage would do “harm” to the state would send the wrong message to people, and noted that Bondi’s office incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs as she continued fight gay marriage in the state, even after the ban had been struck down.

“Are you saying that you believe it would not do harm to Florida?” Cooper asked.

“Of course not,” Bondi replied. “I’ve never said that.