According to the Tampa Bay Times, six same sex couples in Florida are suing to overturn Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). The couples claim that DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and establishes that Florida will not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states or territories, violates their equal rights under the Constitution of the United States.
This suit comes on the heals of successful lawsuits in Utah and Oklahoma which overturned those states’ same sex marriage bans. This also comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Windsor, which struck down portions of the Federal DOMA but left state DOMAs intact.
Florida’s DOMA, contained in Florida Statutes section 741.212, reads as follows:
(1) Marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in any jurisdiction, whether within or outside the State of Florida, the United States, or any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location, or relationships between persons of the same sex which are treated as marriages in any jurisdiction, whether within or outside the State of Florida, the United States, or any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location, are not recognized for any purpose in this state.(2) The state, its agencies, and its political subdivisions may not give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any state, territory, possession, or tribe of the United States or of any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location respecting either a marriage or relationship not recognized under subsection (1) or a claim arising from such a marriage or relationship.(3) For purposes of interpreting any state statute or rule, the term “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the term “spouse” applies only to a member of such a union.