Equality Florida Board Member, Jim Harper, speaks to WTSP Channel 10 in Tampa
Six states and Washington, DC already allow same sex marriage. Twelve more states permit civil unions for same sex couples, but all 50 states could be involved if the nation's high court takes up the issue.
"If the Supreme Court says that you cannot have a popular vote to take away people's rights -- that's a game-changer everywhere, including here [in Florida]," says Equality Florida board member Jim Harper.
Equality Florida is one of the many groups across the Sunshine State working for marriage rights for same sex couples. Realizing that could still be years away, the group is pushing two bills through Tallahassee to extend more protections for same sex couples. One bill would prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual identity. The second bill would create a statewide domestic partner registry.
"It's not marriage," says Harper, "but it would at least allow people to register their relationships, so that at important times in their life, like a hospital emergency or end of life planning, that people who may have been together decades would have the legal standing to act as a couple...a loving couple...which is what they are."