As of 2014, there are still 33 states in America with same-sex marriage bans, with many states approving and repealing their acceptance of such marriage. The confusion has resulted in couples being acknowledged as married in their state one day, and not the next.
Many gay and lesbian couples are tired of being treated as “second-class status,” and are taking their cases to court.
Starting with two couples in Oklahoma last year, now as many as ten couples in both Florida and Utah are choosing to challenge their states in court for prohibiting marriage.
Six gay couples filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, the latest in a series of cases across the country that contend such prohibitions are unconstitutional and effectively relegate gay partners to second-class status.
The lawsuit was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on behalf of the couples by Equality Florida Institute Inc., a civil rights organization that works for fairness for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The lawsuit claims Florida’s gay marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
The couples, many of whom have children and have been together for years, said they see no reason to be forced to move to a state that permits same-sex marriage when they have built lives in Florida.
The law will be defended in court by the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican. Officials there did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state of Utah over the issue of gay marriage, saying the official decision to stop granting benefits for newly married same-sex couples has created wrenching uncertainty.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday says the state has put hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in legal limbo and prevented them from getting key protections for themselves and their children.
The civil rights advocacy group has a news conference scheduled Tuesday to discuss the lawsuit filed on behalf of four gay and lesbian couples.
The state made clear it was not ordering agencies to void the marriages, saying instead that validity of the marriages will ultimately be decided by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is weighing an appeal from the state.
It could take more than a year for the courts to rule on Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, especially if it moves to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ACLU believes the federal government has taken the correct stance on the new marriages. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came out days after Herbert’s decree and said the federal government will honor the gay marriages and grant benefits. That means that same-sex couples who were married in Utah can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.
RYOT NOTE: The ACLU considers themselves our nation’s guardian of liberty. They not only fight for the rights of same-sex couples across the country, they also defend the rights of people of color, women, prisoners and people with disabilities. They believe if the rights of society’s most vulnerable members are denied, everybody’s rights are imperiled. Click the Action Box above this story to learn more, donate and Become the NEws!