Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A step towards marriage equality in Florida - Stemberger worried

Following court victories in Utah and Oklahoma six couples and Equality Florida Institute are filing a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami seeking the freedom to marry.

The couples are from South Florida. Four of the couples are raising children, and another couple has an adult child and two grandchildren. The couples 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. They 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).

I have emails out to two of the lawyers requesting certain additional details. I'll update this post as I receive additional information.

Not surprisingly, John Stemberger of the rabidly anti-gay Florida Family Policy  Council has weighed in with the usual BS:
Sixty two percent of Floridians have decisively spoken on this issue. Gay activists cannot win in the marketplace of ideas, so they have resorted to trying to find renegade courts who have little respect for the rule of law to create social change that would never happen through the people or their elected representatives.

Today's lawsuit is nothing more than a publicity stunt.  Filed in Miami, it represents "forum shopping" in the most liberal legal venue in the state. However, we are confident that Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi will provide a vigorous defense of Florida's long held law and in doing so will expose the radical views and overreaching legal positions set forth in today's lawsuit.
That 62% that Stemberger is referring to is from the 2008 ballot initiative banning gay marriage. Aside from a dramatic shift over the past five years, civil rights are not subject to the whims of the electorate.

As for "forum shopping," I suspect that a majority of our state's same sex couples live in Miami-Dade. As we say here, the further north you go in Florida, the further south you go. And if it is "forum shopping?" So what?
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