Six South Florida gay couples sue in Miami-Dade circuit court for right to marry
Written By: Steve Rothaus
Six same-sex couples on Tuesday sued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for the right to marry in Florida, once again thrusting the Sunshine State into the national gay-rights spotlight.
“We are proud to stand here on this historic day,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the state’s leading gay-rights group. “We are proud to stand here with these brave couples who have stepped up to protect their families and challenge the law in our state. For everyone who stands here today, there are thousands whose families are denied the dignity and protections that marriage provides.
“We stand here for those who have applied for marriage licenses and face the humiliation of being denied. 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.”
The South Florida couples suing to marry are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. 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. Equality Florida Institute is also a plaintiff.
“We stand before you today for one simple reason,” said Pareto, of Coconut Grove, alongside her partner, Arguello, at the LGBT Visitor Center in South Beach. “We want to marry each other here in our state, but we can’t because the freedom to marry isn’t available to us. Carla and I share a beautiful life together. We have an amazing son together. We’ve built a successful business together. We share our finances together. We go to church together. We serve our community together. Our respective families have fully integrated. But in the eyes of the law, we are legal strangers.”
The 12 plaintiffs are represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, attorney Elizabeth F. Schwartz, attorney Mary B. Meeks and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).