PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Supporters of same-sex marriage are ramping up efforts to change state law in Florida. Even with public opinion shifting in their favor, there is a long - and legal - battle ahead. The latest weapon in that battle for same-sex marriage supporters is a 21 page lawsuit filed recently in state court.
"It is time for Florida to lead the south in marriage equality," said Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director of Equality Florida. "We are very optimistic about this lawsuit."
Six Florida same-sex couples recently filed a lawsuit in state trial court against the Clerk of Courts in Miami-Dade County for refusing to issue marriage licenses to the couples. A lawyer for the clerk said existing state law was followed.
"He's wearing my father's wedding ring that I wore for 47 years," said Jorge Diaz, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit along with his fiancé Don Johnston.
"We're determined to get married in Florida under Florida law," said Johnston, who proposed to Diaz in late December. The couple has yet to set a wedding date. They said they are not able to set a date because they are not able to be legally married in this state.
"Even though we could get legally married in another state, it would have no meaning whatsoever when we got back here," said Johnston.
The same-sex marriage debate is playing out in states nationwide. All eyes are on the courts, waiting for the next legal move.
"For us, it's very important because we feel like we are carrying and doing our part," said Diaz.
Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that societal changes are happening too quickly and that the institution of marriage will be undermined. There is no word on when a court decision could come.