Florida Couples Sue State for Right to Marry

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com January 21 2014 3:24 PM ET

 

Six same-sex couples are suing the state of Florida for the right to marry, arguing that their state's constitutional amendment that bars gay and lesbian couples from marrying violates the U.S. Constitution.

The Equality Florida Institute is working with the six couples, who are all from Miami and the surrounding area. The couples are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; 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.

“Florida is our home, it is where we are raising our child, and where we want to get married,” Pareto said in a Tuesday press release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Karla and I wish for our family the same things that other families want. We want to build our lives together, provide a safe and caring home for our child, and share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage.”

They are represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, attorney Elizabeth F. Schwartz, attorney Mary B. Meeks, and NCLR.

“Courts throughout the country are recognizing that this is an issue of basic dignity and fundamental fairness,” said Cristina Alonso, an attorney with Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, in the release. “We look forward to the day when our clients can celebrate and protect their relationships by getting married in their home state in front of family and friends.”

Florida Democrats and independents are more supportive of marriage equality than Republicans in the state, and younger voters are more supportive than older ones, notes Florida's Sun Sentinel newspaper.

Former governor Charlie Crist supported the marriage ban as a Republican. Now seeking a return to the office as a Democrat, he apologized earlier this month for his support of the amendment. A primary challenger, state Senate minority leader Nan Rich, has been a longtime supporter of marriage equality.