Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Six Couples Sue Florida For Marriage Equality

Via Steve Rothaus at the Miami Herald:

Six same-sex couples on Tuesday sued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for the right to marry in Florida, once again thrusting the Sunshine State into the national gay-rights spotlight.

“We are proud to stand here on this historic day,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the state’s leading gay-rights group. “We are proud to stand here with these brave couples who have stepped up to protect their families and challenge the law in our state. For everyone who stands here today, there are thousands whose families are denied the dignity and protections that marriage provides.

“We stand here for those who have applied for marriage licenses and face the humiliation of being denied. We stand here for the children of couples who want to know why their parents aren’t permitted to get married the way their classmates’ parents are.”

The South Florida couples suing to marry are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeff Delmay; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber; and Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz. Equality Florida Institute is also a plaintiff.

This is the way the laws will change: state by state, step by step.

Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.  That was in 2008, and it was done by a coalition of Jesus-shouters and fear mongers who had nothing but contempt for the people they were attacking and for the foundation of laws in this country.  Even though marriage equality was already against the law, they thought that by passing a constitutional amendment they would insulate it against repeal by some future legislature or governor that didn’t have their head buried in the 17th century.

But as we’ve learned in recent days in Utah and Oklahoma, a violation of the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution does not stand up even if it is embedded in the state constitution, any more than slavery does in states where it was once so enshrined.

I am sure the current administration of Gov. Rick Scott and his attorney general, Pam Biondi, will fight this suit, even as they face an uphill battle for re-election.  Wouldn’t it be great if the last battle they fight as they are voted out of office is a losing one?