Florida recently joined the growing list of states with an active court case that challenges laws regarding same-sex marriage. In an earlier blog post, we lamented the possibility of legalized same-sex unions in Florida sometime during the next couple years. However, news that six couples have filed claims in Miami court to challenge the 2006 constitutional amendment may be bring the question to the fore sooner than some may have expected.
One of the common themes expressed by the plaintiffs is that overturning the gay marriage ban would be tremendously beneficial to LGBT families throughout the state. Legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples would simply put them on a level playing field with other families in Florida.
Reports indicate that the state prohibition on same-sex marriage is being challenged on the basis of the federal constitution. It's likely that this approach is also rooted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s same-sex marriage ban.
At this time, it appears as though the Florida Attorney General's Office will be defending current marriage laws. Given the spotlight put on marriage equality in the last few years, it's not exactly clear how quickly this case will move, but whatever happens is certain to captivate the attention of the state and nation.
No matter how the ongoing legal claim proceeds, many Florida couples have legal concerns and needs right now. As such, it may be helpful to take steps that will give same-sex partners authority in medical, parenting and other important matters. After all, failure to address critical family-related concerns in the present could have major repercussions in the future.
Source: Miami Herald, "Six South Florida gay couples sue in Miami-Dade circuit court for right to marry," Steve Rothaus, Jan. 21, 2014