The latest challenge to Florida’s gay marriage ban comes from Central Florida.
According to the Orlando Sentinel on Nov. 28, Daniel Wall-DeSousa and Scott Wall-DeSousa filed a lawsuit this week against the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to recognize their union.
The couple got married in New York City on Dec. 6 2013. New York State is one of only a handful of states that has legalized same-sex marriage. The Brevard County couple told the Sentinel that the two got new Florida drivers licenses that show their last names, which are the same. But the FHMV abruptly cancelled the new license, and sent a letter to the couple which stated:
“Same sex marriage certificates are not recognized as valid in Florida. Such a certificate from another state is not considered as a legal basis for a name change on a Florida driver license.”
So on Nov. 25, the men filed their lawsuit in federal court in Orlando which listed the FHSMV, the director of the FHSMV Terry L. Rhodes, Gov. Rick Scott, and the Brevard County tax collector, the agency that processes state drivers license applications.
The couple wrote in their legal brief that the state violated their constitutional rights, and has asked David A Baker, U.S. Magistrate, to issue an order that will force the state to recognize same-sex marriages.
The couple is also asking the magistrate to force the FHSMV to re-issue them new driver’s licenses in their new names, and pay for unspecified damages, which includes punitive damage and legal cost. Scott Wall-DeSousa told the Sentinel:
“I find it slightly offensive that this state will not honor a little document from another state. If this were a line or a judgment or any other legal document, not only would this state accept it, but it would also enforce it.”
Four judges in Florida have all overturned the state’s same-sex marriage ban, but all of the rulings have been stayed to give time for the state’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, time to file a challenge. Bondi’s office has contested all of the rulings, and it is expected that her office will file a challenge to this case as well.
Dan Wall-DeSousa refused to reapply for a driver’s licenses using his old name in protest. His husband, Scott, did reapply for a license using his old name and received one. The couple is also leading the charge in trying to get the Brevard County School Board to extend their anti-discrimination policy to protect LGBT students.