MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A same sex couple and their young son from South Florida were among the 30,000 or so who attended the 136th White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington.
This year’s theme was “Hop Into Healthy, Swing Into Shape.”
The event, hosted by the First Family, was held on the South Lawn and featured live music, sports, cooking stations and, of course, Easter egg rolling.
Melanie and Vanessa Alenier, who live in Hollywood with their five year old son Ethan, were one of six same sex couples listed in Equality Florida Institute’s lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade circuit court last January challenging Florida’s ban on same sex marriages.
Melanie Alenier said being at the White House was a really amazing experience.
“I think it’s amazing for us to just be here as a family. I mean it’s amazing for anybody to be able to be part of this huge day,” said Alenier. “It’s a historic tradition and for people to see a lesbian couple and their child here, sure it probably puts a human face to our story. We’re no different from anybody else, we’re just family.”
Courts across the country have struck down many anti-gay laws. Gay marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage act. Because of that decision same sex couples may not be denied federal benefits.
Plaintiffs in the Florida suit say they are standing on principal by not getting married in states where same sex vows are legal.
There is a deliberate legal strategy behind the suit being filed in state, rather than federal courts. A Miami-Dade judge previously struck down a Florida ban on adoption of foster children by same sex parents. And under current case law, it appears a ruling against the marriage ban – if upheld by the state supreme court – should make the decision final in Florida.