Gay Couples to Challenge Florida's Marriage Ban

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Written By: Stephen Nohigren


Six South Florida same-sex couples filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Tuesday, seeking to overturn Florida's ban on gay marriage.

The suit, similar to others sweeping the country, contends that the ban stigmatizes gay couples and their children, serves no legitimate government interest and violates due process and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.

Echoing language from the civil rights era, the suit seeks "fundamental rights, dignity and equality.''

The suit was filed on behalf of the couples by Equality Florida, a statewide advocacy group that sifted through about 1,000 potential plaintiffs to set up a test case.

The couples, three male and three female, have been together for years, the suit says. Five of the six couples have children.

They applied for marriage licenses Friday and — as expected — were turned down by the clerk of court. On Tuesday, Equality Florida filed the suit and held a news conference.

"We stand here for those who have applied for marriage licenses and face the humiliation of being denied,'' Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith said. "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."

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