National Center for Lesbian Rights

Cases & Advocacy

Pareto v. Ruvin

Status: Closed

Outcome: Victory

Location: Florida

On January 21, 2014, six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute filed a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit argued that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violated the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides.

The couples were from Miami and the surrounding area. Four of the couples were raising children, and another couple had an adult child and two grandchildren. The couples were: Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeff Delmay; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber; and Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz. They were represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, attorney Elizabeth F. Schwartz, attorney Mary B. Meeks, and NCLR.

On May 1, 2014, the plaintiffs asked a state court to rule that the state’s ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional. In their motion, the six couples and Equality Florida Institute argued that Florida’s ban on marriage equality violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution. On July 25, 2014, the court issued a decision striking down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples and ordering Miami-Dade County to allow same-sex couples to marry. The court stayed the order pending appeal.

On January 5, 2015, the court lifted its stay and ordered the Clerk of the Courts in Miami-Dade County to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Same-sex couples began marrying in all Florida counties on January 6, 2015 as a result of orders issued in a separate federal case challenging Florida’s marriage ban.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in NCLR’s Tennessee marriage case and cases from three other states affirming the freedom to marry in every state and U.S. territory.

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