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Florida’s Fight Over Gay Marriage Lands In An Appeals Court

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FORT LAUDERDALE  (CBSMiami) – A Florida Atlantic University student is asking the court to recognize his same-sex marriage so he can pay ‘in-state’ tuition rates.

Gildas Dousset filed the appeal Wednesday in state court seeking recognition of his marriage to his husband.

The appeal, filed in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, argues that Florida’s laws barring recognition of valid out of state marriages of same sex couples violates the United States Constitution.

Dousset was a student at FAU.  He and his spouse, Paul Rubio,  legally married in Massachusetts in 2013.  Dousset applied for in-state tuition as the spouse of a long-time Florida resident, but says he was turned down because the school refused to recognize his marriage.

“Actually I made a decision to drop out when I went to the registrar’s office and was told my marriage could not be recognized here in Florida,” Dousset told CBS4 News.

“When we were corresponding with the school and told them we were getting married they said just bring in the documentation,” his partner Paul Rubio explains.  “But when they saw it was to another man, the situation changed.”

“It was insulting, I was told my marriage was not valid at all,” says Dousset.

Their attorney George Castrataro said, “We’re asking for the appeals court to acknowledge the Florida statutes and the Florida Constitution are unconstitutional. Florida’s per capita, especially Broward county is the most per capita LGBT community in the entire country so as a state there’s a high precedence for addressing this issue.”

Castrataro said the court may simply find that FAU has to grant the in-state tuition rate to Dousset or they may recognize gay marriages that happen in other states, which could have broad implications for same-sex married couples in Florida.

He has requested an oral argument and hopes it will happen this summer.

“I hope the state recognizes the right side of history,” he said.

The University, on Friday, released this statement:

“The lawsuit challenges Florida statute 741.212 that was signed into law in 1997. It requires that no state agency, including state universities, can recognize same-sex marriages. This includes recognition for the purposes of in-state tuition as outlined by Florida law. Florida Atlantic University, and every Florida state college and university, is bound to follow all the laws of the State of Florida unless they are deemed unconstitutional by the court. It is our understanding that this law is being challenged in courts throughout the state, and there is no allegation that FAU misapplied the law or did anything other than what is specifically required by the laws of the state.”

 

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