Florida couples file lawsuit to overturn equal marriage ban

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Six same-sex couples in Florida today filed a lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit alleges the state, which passed a constitutional amendment in 2008 defining marriage as between a man and a woman, is violating the US Constitution by excluding same-sex couples.

Of the six couples, four are raising children, while one has children and grandchildren.

Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, said: “The law should support families, not make it harder for committed couples to support one another and protect their children. Barring same-sex couples from marriage causes great harms to their families and children while helping no one.”

The move follows the filing of several similar cases in other states, including Arizona, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, among others.

The couples will be encouraged by the success of similar lawsuits in Oklahoma and Utah, where bans on same-sex marriages were declared unconstitutional and thrown out, pending appeal.

Attorney Cristina Alonso of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt added: “Courts throughout the country are recognizing that this is an issue of basic dignity and fundamental fairness. We look forward to the day when our clients can celebrate and protect their relationships by getting married in their home state in front of family and friends.”

The Republican Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is an opponent of same-sex marriage.

In the US, 17 states and the District of Columbia currently allow same-sex marriage, while 28 states still have constitutional bans in effect.