Anti-gay groups file brief in marriage equality lawsuit

By : Jamie Hyman
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Although a judge shot down their request to intervene in Florida’s marriage equality lawsuit, three anti-gay groups have filed a 43-page amicus brief.

That lawsuit, Pareto v. Ruvin, argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides. The plaintiffs are six South Florida same-sex couples who wish to marry and the Equality Florida Institute. They are represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Elizabeth F. Schwartz, Mary B. Meeks, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

On June 3, Judge Sarah Zabel ruled that Florida Family Action Inc., Florida Democratic League and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality—all who support the state’s ban on marriage equality and were represented by the Liberty Counsel—cannot intervene in Pareto v. Ruvin. However, they were permitted to file amicus curiae briefs in the case. Amicus curiae, which literally translates to “friend of the court” describes a brief from someone who is not party to a court case but who wishes to offer information.

The brief argues that the plaintiffs have not provided sufficient arguments that Amendment 2, the marriage equality ban, is unconstitutional. It also argues that marriage, as defined by the union of one man and one woman, is optimal for children, fosters true equality and recognizes the “inherent value of the sexes.” Lastly, the brief claims that “physical and psychological harms cause by homosexual conduct provide more than rational basis for not condoning such conduct in law.”

“The amicus brief is full of the same old tired and discredited arguments that have already been soundly rejected by state and federal courts all across the nation,” said Mary Meeks, attorney for the plaintiffs. “We remain focused on presenting our case to the court at the hearing on July 2, and establishing the many and significant harms inflicted on our plaintiff couples and all gay Floridians by this discriminatory and unconstitutional law. We hope that the day is drawing near that Florida will join the constantly increasing number of equality states that recognize, protect and value all of their families.”

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