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Plaintiffs in Fla. gay marriage suit ask court to rule ban is unconstitutional

Plaintiffs in Fla. gay marriage suit ask court to rule ban is unconstitutional

MIAMI — Plaintiffs challenging Florida’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage asked a state court on Thursday to rule that the ban is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs in Equality Florida's challenge to Florida's gay marriage ban.
Plaintiffs in Equality Florida’s challenge to Florida’s gay marriage ban. Brett Hufziger, via Equality Florida

In their motion, the six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute argue that Florida’s ban on marriage equality violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The motion asserts that Florida’s marriage ban cannot stand in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last June that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

The couples’ papers note that every court to consider these federal constitutional claims since last summer’s Supreme Court decision has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, including federal courts in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

The couples, all from the South Florida area, filed their lawsuit in January in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. It is one of four lawsuits challenging Florida’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, and recognition of lawful same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

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“The law should treat all families fairly. Florida’s marriage ban makes it harder for same-sex couples to take care of one another and protect their children,” said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida Institute.

“We are confident when we have our day in court Florida will stand with other courts across the country in concluding these laws violate the basic principles of fairness and equality for all,” she said.

The plaintiffs are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Follow this case: Pareto v. Ruvin.

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