Eight Florida same-sex couples and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday evening challenging their state’s refusal to recognize gay marriages legally performed in other states.
While the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act invalidated a federal law barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, the ruling did not address states’ rights to refuse recognition of legal same-sex unions.
“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,” plaintiff Sloan Grimsley, a firefighter from Palm Beach Gardens, said in an ACLU press release Wednesday. “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.”
Marriage equality advocates in Kentucky achieved a related victory in February, when a federal judge ordered state officials to recognize same-sex unions performed in other states and countries.
The ACLU filed a similar lawsuit in Missouri on behalf of eight same-sex couples seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages in February.
As states resisting marriage equality face a flood of legal challenges launched by LGBT rights groups, more than half of Americans today, 53 percent, support same-sex marriage.
A March 2013 survey by Public Policy Polling indicated that 75 percent of Florida voters support either civil unions or gay marriage for same-sex couples, with 23 percent opposed to any form of legal recognition.