TAMPA (BP)--In an historic lawsuit, a same-sex couple "married"
in Massachusetts filed a legal challenge July 20 against the
federal Defense of Marriage Act.
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If successful, the lawsuit could result in all 50 states
recognizing same-sex "marriage."
Florida attorney Ellis Rubin filed the lawsuit in a Tampa, Fla.,
federal court on behalf of Nancy Wilson and Paula Schoenwether, a
lesbian couple who received a marriage license in Massachusetts
July 2 and are suing to have it recognized in Florida, a
spokesperson for Rubin told Baptist Press. Wilson is pastor of
Trinity Metropolitan Community Church -- a church that affirms
homosexuality -- in Sarasota, Fla.
The lawsuit is the first against the Defense of Marriage Act on
behalf of a same-sex couple who have a state-recognized marriage
license. Legal experts say the license strengthens the couple's
A friend of the couple, Robin Tyler of Dontamend.com, said the
lawsuit is necessary. Dontamend.com, which first announced the
lawsuit, is a campaign seeking to prevent the passage of a
constitutional marriage amendment.
"We do not have equal protection under the law, and we will
continue to sue across this country, until the Supreme Court of
the United States finally grants us full marriage equality,"
Tyler said in the statement.
Although Rubin has filed lawsuits recently seeking the
legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Florida, this is
the first one where his clients have a valid marriage license.
The nation's major homosexual rights organizations -- such as
Lambda Legal -- have yet to file suit against DOMA in federal
court, perhaps because they believe the political timing isn't
Signed into law in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act is the
federal law that gives states the option of not recognizing
another state's same-sex "marriages." The law also
prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex "marriage."
If it is overturned, then every state presumably would be forced
to recognize Massachusetts' same-sex "marriages."
The controversy over the constitutionality of the Defense of
Marriage Act is at the heart of the debate over the Federal
Opponents of the amendment argue that DOMA has yet to be
challenged successfully in court and that the push for a
constitutional amendment is premature.
Supporters of the amendment counter by pointing to the numerous
lawsuits nationwide and say is it only a matter of time before
the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned. On the state level, at
least eight states are defending their marriage laws in court
against those seeking to legalize same-sex "marriage."
"The question is no longer whether the Constitution will be
amended," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R.-Tenn., said
during floor debate on the marriage amendment July 14. "The
only question is who will amend it and how it will be amended.
Will activist judges -- not elected by the American people --
destroy the institution of marriage? Or will the people protect
marriage as the best way to raise children? My vote is with the
Constitutional amendments require the passage of two-thirds of
both the House and Senate and three-quarters (38) of the states.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex
"marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage.
(Florida Baptist Witness contributed to this report)