Lawsuit – representing 8 couples, a recently-widowed Ft. Myers woman and LGBT rights organization SAVE – seeks end of Florida’s discriminatory refusal to recognize legal marriages performed out of state.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 28, 2014
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, email@example.com, (786) 363-2737
MIAMI, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has filed a response to the state of Florida’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on the recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples.
The lawsuit, filed in March 2014, challenges the state’s refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed out of state. The ACLU represents eight couples from throughout the state, a recently-widowed Ft. Myers woman, and SAVE (formerly SAVE Dade), a South Florida-based LGBT rights organization. The lawsuit names Florida Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and two other state officials as defendants. The case has been consolidated with another lawsuit also challenging the ban, and the consolidated cases are being heard in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida.
“Florida's discriminatory laws cause serious harm to real families across the state,” said ACLU of Florida staff attorney Daniel Tilley, who is lead counsel in the case. “Despite the state's assertion that the harms to same-sex married couples aren't significant enough to warrant relief, the families living every day being treated like legal strangers by their home state know better. It's time to end this state-sponsored discrimination once and for all. Florida’s families deserve better.”
The ACLU of Florida’s response, filed with the Court on May 27th, says that the state’s motion to dismiss largely ignores the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion last year in U.S. v. Windsor, the ACLU case in which the Supreme Court struck down the federal “Defense of Marriage Act.” The response also argues that heightened scrutiny is warranted in the case because the state’s ban burdens the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights and discriminates on the basis of both gender and sexual orientation.
A copy of the response is available here: http://aclufl.org/resources/grimsley-v-scott-response-to-motion-to-dismiss/
More information about the case, including bios of individuals represented in the case, is available at www.aclufl.org/marriageequality
The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys for the ACLU and the ACLU of Florida, as well as Stephen Rosenthal of the Podhurst Orseck law firm.
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