On Wednesday, July 2 at 4 PM, the fight for marriage equality in Florida will have its day in court, with a hearing before Judge Sarah Zabel in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami. Equality Florida reports.
News of the court date comes on the heels of back-to-back marriage equality victories in Oregon, Utah and Pennsylvania.
Judge Zabel will hear from attorneys who filed a lawsuit in January on behalf of six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute. The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides.
Stated Equality Florida Institute Chief Executive Officer Nadine Smith: “Today the majority of Floridians stand with us, as there is no reasonable argument for discrimination against our families. Throughout the nation, courts have ruled that these harmful laws are outdated and out of step, and we believe that equality and justice will prevail in Florida, as well.”
More than 70 cases are currently pending in state and federal court in more than 30 states and U.S. territories, and judges, appointed by Republicans and Democrats alike, have issued 19 consecutive victories for marriage equality.
In just in the past few months, marriage equality bans have been struck down in eight states: Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Now, same-sex couples in 18 states and the District of Columbia have the freedom to marry.
In Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio, the courts have struck down laws denying recognition to same-sex couples who had already married in other states.
Three states offer broad protections short of marriage. Colorado allows civil union, while Nevada offers a broad definition of domestic partnership and Wisconsin has a more limited domestic partnership in place.
In addition to Equality Florida Institute, the plaintiffs in the case to be heard on July 2nd include four couples who are raising children and another couple with an adult child and two grandchildren. The couples are: Catherina Pareto & Karla Arguello; Vanessa & Melanie Alenier; David Price & Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez; Jorge Isaias Diaz & Don Price Johnston; Jeff & Todd Delmay; and Summer Greene & Pamela Faerber.
They are represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Elizabeth F. Schwartz, Mary B. Meeks, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).