Same-sex marriage suit given little chance

July 26, 2004 at 10:45 AM

MIAMI, July 26 (UPI) -- Two Bradenton, Fla., women who were married in Massachusetts have filed the first suit to legalize their marriage in their home state.

Legal experts say the suit is a long shot, the St. Petersburg Times reported Monday.

Paula Schoenwether and Nancy Wilson, together for 27 years, were married July 2 in Massachusetts. Last week they filed a federal suit in Tampa asking U.S. District Court to force the state of Florida and the federal government to recognize their marriage legally.

Andrew Koppelman, a professor of law and political science at Northwestern University in Chicago said he favors same-sex marriage, but the suit "does not have a leg to stand on.

"I am a defender of same-sex marriage. I have every reason to want this couple to win. But this particular case sounds like a sure loser," he said.

The suit challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and a similar law enacted in 1997 by the Florida Legislature. Both define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

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