Caucus Applauds the Supreme Court Decisions on DOMA and Prop 8

TAMPA, FL – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus applauds rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court decisions today that struck down a critical section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and reinstated marriage equality for same-sex couples in California.

“This is an enormous victory and joyous day for loving, married couples and their families across the country,” said Sally Philips, Caucus president. “Today, the court confirmed that all committed couples are equal under the law, deserving of the same respect, dignity and abliity to care for each other that was previously only afforded to heterosexual couples.”

The ruling in U.S. v. Windsor – the DOMA case – means that couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage will no longer be denied access to federal benefits, enabling them to better protect one another and their children as they will be included in the federal safety net. The Hollingsworth v Perry case was dismissed on the grounds that the supporters of California’s Prop. 8 that stripped marriage from same-sex couples in that state did not have standing, thus cementing the landmark federal Dist. 9 court ruling stand that deemed ballot initiative unconstitutional.

The Caucus, although jubilant over these milestone decisions, tempered its elation with sadness.

“Unfortunately, these victories do nothing for couples in the State of Florida unless they travel to one of the 13 states or District of Columbia that value their commitment and relationship,” Phillips added. “It is sad and shameful that Florida remains behind the times and continues to legally discriminate by denying loving, committed couples the freedom to marry.”

Numerous polls show support for marriage equality growing daily, with many former opponents of same-sex marriage “evolving” on the issue. One such evolution was that of Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St Petersburg), who recently came out in support of marriage equality at the Caucus’s summer membership meeting at the FDP JJ weekend in Hollywood on June 15th. This was a major announcement as Rep. Rouson is the incoming Democratic leader of the Florida House of Representatives and once was on record against recognizing same-sex marriage.

“This is an ongoing conversation we are having with people all across Florida … telling the stories of love and commitment that are – and will continue – to move the hearts and minds of our neighbors, friends, coworkers and legislators,” Phillips added. “We will not rest until the freedom to marry comes to Florida.”