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Florida couples drop challenge to DOMA

It’s a setback, but what can you do in the climate that’s been created by the Right and when the opposition party isn’t fighting back in support of the cause? (Gainesville Sun) :

Three gay couples dropped their lawsuits Tuesday challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, saying they don’t want to risk having a conservative U.S. Supreme Court set legal precedent by rejecting their cases.

Attorney Ellis Rubin, who was representing the couples, and the American Civil Liberties Union had said they would take the cases all the way from Florida’s federal courts to the Supreme Court. The suits were brought by gay couples married in Massachusetts and Canada who wanted Florida to recognize their marriages.

Florida law only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman, a law that is supported by the Defense of Marriage Act. It allows states to disregard gay marriages performed in other states and foreign countries.

Rubin said in a statement the decision was made along with the ACLU’s Gay and Lesbian Rights Project. Key in the decision was the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear a challenge to the Florida law that bans gays from adopting children. “That ruling strongly suggests that our case would not be favorably received,” Rubin said.

“It was a very difficult decision, but it was made in the best interest of my clients,” Rubin said. “I felt that if we go to an appeal to the 11th Circuit, chances were very slim of us prevailing there and that would establish precedent for other judicial circuits.” U.S. District Judge James Moody’s dismissal of the two lawsuits does not set precedent for other jurisdictions.

Tyler said her group’s attention will now be focused on changing individual state laws to allow marriage between same-sex couples and other legal challenges in less conservative districts. The group is also battling efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

“You pick your battles, but you continue fighting,” Tyler said. “We understand it’s a matter of time….Love always wins.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding