Here's the news release:
After consulting with state and national legal experts on the scope of the Supreme Court decision and the impact it may have for state constitutional bans, Equality Florida is reaching out to potential plaintiffs for a lawsuit in Florida.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Justice Anthony Kennedy stated, “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment."
Florida currently has a state amendment in place which bans marriage equality. While that ban remains in place, gay couples in Florida will be denied the freedom to marry, and legal marriages from other states will not be respected. Furthermore some federal benefits may be denied to gay couples who are legally married elsewhere but reside in Florida, creating a complex legal patchwork.
But even Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent agreed that the ruling paves the way for successful challenges to state bans.
"By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage as an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.”
In addition to seeking potential plaintiffs, Equality Florida has launched a massive public education campaign aimed at telling the stories of gay couples trapped in a legal limbo due to the ban.
“When we launched Get Engaged (www.ImEngaged.org), our campaign to change hearts and minds toward supporting the freedom to marry, we asked people to tell their story,” commented Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director. “In state after state where equality has been achieved, telling the authentic stories of our families has paved the way. As we explore the very real potential of going to court to protect our families, we are reaching out to couples to tell their stories, not only to the public, but also to the court.”
Couples willing to be considered as a plaintiff in a Florida marriage lawsuit may visit www.ImEngaged.org.