Friday, April 17, 2009

Florida, 28 other states don't give legal status to gay married couples


Florida's DOMA and recently amended constitution bar recognition of out-of-state marriages, a practice that the federal DOMA also allows. Columnist Michael Mayo believes that the practice violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and then turns to attorneys and scholars for discussion of obstacles to a 14th Amendment challenge. The discussion of obstacles resembles that in a 4/11/09 New York Times article.

"Robin Bodiford, an attorney and gay rights activist, said the conservative makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court could be a deterrent to federal lawsuits." Notwithstanding recent developmetns, Robert Rosenwald Jr. is an attorney who directs the Florida ACLU's LGBT Advocacy Project. He adds that "the timing isn't right for a federal challenge because the societal pendulum hasn't swung far enough." And Bruce Rogow, an attorney and constitutional law professor at Nova Southeastern University, said he doubts a challenge based on the equal protection clause would succeed."

Like those interviewed for the NY Times article, none of these attorneys comments on a recent challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of eight Massachusetts same-sex couples and three same-sex widows.

Florida evidently presents its own hurdles to gay marriage supporters, as Bodiford points out that Florida activists are more focused on overturning the state ban on adoptions by gay parents.

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