Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More Dancing

Yesterday, courage failed or caution prevailed, depending on your view. Three same-sex married couples dropped their suits challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA). Their attorney, Ellis Rubin, in Florida figured this was not the time to gamble with the conservative U.S. Supreme Court. This followed a strategy conference with the director of the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.

His case was considered weak in that his clients traveled to Massachusetts or Canada for marriages. When they returned to Florida, they sought legal recognition of their status. A federal judge there recently dismissed two cases. This followed U.S. Supreme Court's refusing to hear a challenge to Florida law prohibiting adoptions by homosexual couples, even though the state allows them to be foster parents.

Equality Campaign Executive Director Robin Tyler said her organization would work more at the state level, trying to change laws. A statement on the Website includes her comments:

The couples involved in the legal cases, Rev. Nancy Wilson and Dr. Paula Shoenwether, who were married in Massachusetts, and Rev. Phyllis Hunt and Vilia Corison, married in Canada, were very courageous in seeking their Federal equal rights in Florida, a state which is years behind in extending civil rights to their very large lesbian and gay population.In the harshest of times, these couples stepped up to resist, in the harshest of states.

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