Elizabeth F. Schwartz is proud to be one of the attorneys that represented the plaintiffs in the Miami-Dade case, Pareto v. Ruvin, where the Judge ruled in favor of ending the discriminatory ban against same-sex marriage:
"... this Court finds that Florida’s statutory and constitutional restrictions on same-sex marriage violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. They improperly infringe upon the Plaintiffs’ ability to exercise their fundamental right to marry the person of their choice, and upon their liberty interests regarding personal autonomy, family integrity, association, and dignity. They also unlawfully discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation." - Judge Sarah Zabel, 11th Circuit (Download the Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment, issued 7/25/14)
However, our case was appealed by the State of Florida, and Judge Zabel had issued a stay on her decision while the appeals process continues. On January 5th, 2015, Judge Zabel lifted her stay, enabling the plaintiffs and other residents of Miami-Dade County to begin applying for marriage certificates shortly thereafter. Once the plaintiffs had obtained their marriage licenses, Judge Zabel personally married two of the plaintiff couples, Catherina Pareto & Karla Arguello, and Todd Delmay and Jeffrey Delmay.
CATHERINA PARETO and KARLA ARGUELLO; JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ and DAVID PRICE; VANESSA ALENIER and MELANIE ALENIER; TODD DELMAY and JEFFREY DELMAY; SUMMER GREENE and PAMELA FAERBER; DON PRICE JOHNSTON and JORGE DIAZ; and EQUALITY FLORIDA INSTITUTE, INC., Plaintiffs,
HARVEY RUVIN, as Clerk of the Courts of Miami-Dade County, Florida, in his official capacity, Defendant.
On January 21, 2014, six same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute filed a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides. Elizabeth F. Schwartz is proud to be co-counsel on this case, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, and attorney Mary B. Meeks.
Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello have been together for 14 years. Catherina owns and operates a financial planning firm. Karla is a stay-at-home mother to their 15-month-old son.
Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price have been together for nearly 18 years. Juan Carlos is a physician specializing in pulmonary medicine. David is the practice manager for Juan Carlos’s medical practice. They have twins, a boy and a girl, who are 3 years old.
Vanessa and Melanie Alenier have been together for eight years. Vanessa is the assistant general manager of a national trade show and special event service provider is the national sales manager at an energy products company. Melanie is an insurance agent. They have a 5-year-old son together.
Todd and Jeff Delmay have been together for 11 years. Todd and Jeff own and operate Delmay and Partners, a company that provides housing services for large events. They have one son, who is 3 years old.
Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber have been together for 25 years. Summer is a real estate agent. Pamela is a portrait artist. Summer and Pamela raised Pamela’s daughter from a prior marriage and now have two grandchildren, ages 10 and 17.
Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz have been in a committed relationship for a year and recently got engaged. Don is an office manager at a Miami law firm, and Jorge is a paralegal at a Miami law firm.
Equality Florida Institute is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The organization has many members throughout the state. Since its inception, the organization has represented the interests of LGBT Floridians through public education, coalition-building, advocacy and grassroots organizing. Equality Florida Institute also coordinates public education campaigns and events for policymakers, LGBT people, and the public at large on issues affecting the LGBT community. Equality Florida Institute members include many same-sex couples who long for the freedom to marry and would marry in Florida if Florida law permitted them to do so.
On Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, the US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and restored marriage equality to the State of California. Read the official majority opinions issued in each case:
Elizabeth has discussed the impact of the Supreme Court decisions on Florida citizens in several forums, including CLE classes, web chats, and a discussion roundtable on This Week in South Florida with Michael Putney.