Groups Seek Marriage Equality in Florida

Six gay couples in the Sunshine State are seeking an overturn of the ban of same-sex marriage, arguing that said ban is unconstitutional and violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution. At the beginning of the month, the plaintiffs filed a motion which argues that in the light of the recent and prior rulings in various courts, including the United States Supreme Courts decision last June that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is in violation of the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

“The law should treat all families fairly. Florida’s marriage ban makes it harder for same-sex couples to take care of one another and protect their children. We are confident when we have our day in court, Florida will stand with other courts across the country in concluding these laws violate the basic principles of fairness and equality for all,” said Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of the Equality Florida Institute.

Fighting for Marriage Equality in Florida

There are six couples named as plaintiffs, joining two groups seeking marriage equality, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Florida. The couples are all in committed relationships and live in and around Miami, Florida. The original lawsuit was filed against the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts for its refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Two of the individual plaintiffs helped to end the ban on gay adoption in the state for Florida in 2010. The same strategy was used in the states of Utah and Oklahoma in early 2013, bringing marriage equality to each state.

About the Plaintiffs

The six same-sex couples have been in exclusive relationships for many years. Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello are in a 14 year relationship and Catherina is the owner of a financial planning firm, while Karla stays at home with their 1 year old son.

Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price are in a 18 year relationship and Dr. Carlos is a pulmonary medical specialist while David serves as his partner’s practice manager. The couple has twins, a boy and a girl who are 3 years old.

Vanessa and Melanie Alenier are in an 8 year relationship and Vanessa works as an assistant manager to a national trade show, while Melanie works in the insurance industry. They too, have a child, a 5 year old son.

Todd and Jeff Delmay are in an 11 year relationship, and both own and operate a housing services company for large events: Delmay and Partners. This same-sex couple have a son.

Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber are in a 25 year relationship and Summer is a licensed real estate agent while Pamela works as a portrait artist. The couple is raising Pamela’s daughter, a girl from a prior marriage and they have two grandchildren.

Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz are starting a new life together, being in a relationship for more than a year and are currently engaged. Don is an office manager at a law firm in Miami, while Jorge works as a paralegal.

Should these couples be successful in their quest for marriage equality, Florida will be a more inclusive state.