FLORIDA STUDENT FILES APPEAL SEEKING RECOGNITION OF MARRIAGE TO SAME-SEX PARTNER FOLLOWING REFUSAL OF IN-STATE TUITION BENEFITS
STATEMENT FROM EQUALITY FLORIDA
"This is just one of the many ways that our families are harmed by a law that serves no purpose but to discriminate; denying protections that every family deserves. Court after court across the country has found these marriage bans to be legally indefensible. It is time for all families in our state to have full equality under the law.” - Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida
(May 14, 2014)—Today, Gildas Dousset, a student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, filed an appeal in state court seeking recognition of his marriage to his husband. The appeal, filed in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, argues that Florida’s laws barring recognition of valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples violate the United States Constitution.
Dousset and his spouse legally married in Massachusetts in 2013 and live together in Fort Lauderdale. When Dousset sought in-state tuition at Florida Atlantic University as the spouse of a long-time Florida resident, the school refused to respect the couple’s legal marriage, citing Florida’s discriminatory laws. Dousset is represented by The Law Offices of George Castrataro, PA, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
Said Dousset: “Florida is my home and I would like my marriage to be recognized just as other students’ marriages are. My husband has lived in Florida all of his life and we love this state. This case is about protecting our family.”
Attorney George Castrataro said: “Gildas and his husband are recognized as legally married by the federal government and by many other states. But in his home state of Florida, his legal marriage is deemed void and unenforceable under Florida law. The harms inflicted by this extraordinary law are profound and burden the lives of countless Floridians.”
NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter added: “The law should support families, not make it harder for committed couples to protect their families. These laws cause great harm to same-sex couples and their families while helping no one.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights also represents six same-sex couples and Equality Florida in Pareto v. Ruvin, a separate case before a state circuit court in Miami-Dade County challenging Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage. Oral argument in that case will take place later this summer.
George Castrataro, Esq., The Law Offices of George Castrataro, PA
Office: 954.573.1444 / Mobile: 954.756.4720 / [email protected]
Erik Olvera, Communications Director, NCLR
Office: 415.392.6257 x324 / Mobile: 415.994.3242 / [email protected]
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org