www.baltimoresun.com/topic/sfl-gay-couples-marriage-plaintiffs-20130702,0,281836.story

baltimoresun.com

Group seeks gay couples to serve as plaintiffs in case against Florida marriage ban

By Anthony Man

Sun Sentinel

1:35 PM EDT, July 2, 2013

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The gay rights group Equality Florida is soliciting for people willing to serve as plaintiffs for a possible lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“As we explore the very real potential of going to court to protect our families, we are reaching out to couples to tell their stories, not only to the public, but also to the court,” Nadine Smith, the group’s executive director said in a statement.

Potential plaintiffs are asked to fill out an online form seeking same-sex couples “willing to be the plaintiff in a Florida in a marriage equality lawsuit.” They’re asked for basic information, whether they’re willing to speak publicly, and for their stories and family situations.

Before last week’s Supreme Court decisions that advanced same-sex marriage but didn’t have an immediate impact on Florida, Equality Florida had launched a Get Engaged campaign, aimed at increasing visibility for efforts to win same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State.

Smith said at the time she wasn’t sure whether a court challenge or ballot measure was the best route to overturning the ban on same-sex marriage voters added to the state Constitution in 2008.

“When we launched Get Engaged, our campaign to change hearts and minds toward supporting the freedom to marry, we asked people to tell their story,” smith said. “In state after state where equality has been achieved, telling the authentic stories of our families has paved the way.”

In its statement asking for potential plaintiffs to come forward, Equality Florida quoted from the Supreme Court opinions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy stated, “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”….

But even Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent agreed that the ruling paves the way for successful challenges to state bans. "By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage as an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.”