TALLAHASSEE — Six homosexuals and their partners have filed a lawsuit in Florida in an effort to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment enshrining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
The San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights is representing the plaintiffs, who were chosen out of a reported 1,000 volunteers.
“These laws are out of step and outdated,” legal director Shannon Minter told reporters. “What’s happened over that time period [since the amendment passed] is a real awakening by most people in Florida to the humanity of lesbian and gay people and their families.”
Florida’s constitutional amendment barring the recognition of homosexual unions passed during November 2008 election. It was approved by 61.9 percent of the vote.
“Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized,” the amendment reads.
“Our ultimate goal is to secure a victory in the Florida Supreme Court holding for the entire state that Florida’s marriage ban is unconstitutional, so that everyone in the state would be able to marry,” Minter stated.
But John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council wrote in a news release on Tuesday that he believed the lawsuit was nothing more than a “publicity stunt.”
“Sixty-two percent of Floridians have decisively spoken on this issue,” he stated. “Gay activists cannot win in the marketplace of ideas, so they have resorted to trying to find renegade courts who have little respect for the rule of law to create social change that would never happen through the people or their elected representatives.”
Stemberger advised that his organization would become active in defending the amendment regardless of the resources involved.
“The six same-sex plaintiff couples in this lawsuit appear to be very sincere and are certainly free to self-define themselves and have private civil commitment ceremonies,” he said. “But they, and the activists who motivated them, are not free to redefine a fundamental human institution which has served civilization since the beginning of time.”
The announcement of the lawsuit comes just two weeks after homosexual advocates filed suit in Arizona to likewise overturn the state’s constitutional amendment, which was passed by 56 percent of voters.
Similar lawsuits are pending across the country, including in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky and Texas. Reports state that nearly 30 legal challenges have been filed. Most suits are identical in nature, asserting a violation of the 14th Amendment and pointing to the Supreme Court’s June DOMA ruling.