The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit against the state Wednesday night on behalf of SAVE, an LGBT rights organization, and eight same-sex couples whose out-of-state marriages Florida does not recognize.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, the same-sex marriages legally offered in 17 states gained recognition from the federal government. SCOTUS did not rule on section 2 of DOMA, however, which allows states to choose whether or not to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states, and in 2008, Florida voted to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The lawsuit contends that Florida’s failure to recognize these couples’ marriages as legal prevents them from providing for one another in the same manner heterosexual couples are able to under the law.
Sloan Grimsley, a firefighter from Palm Beach Gardens and one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said in a press release issued Wednesday, "I'm proud of the work that I do protecting my community, but the law in Florida doesn't let me protect my own family.”
Concerned that her spouse and their child would be denied benefits if she were injured or killed in the line of duty, she said, "We just want the peace of mind of knowing that those vows we took to care for one another aren't dependent on where we are."
In January, Equality Florida filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of six couples, which is still pending.