Same-sex marriage became legal in Florida in January following a U.S. District Court judge’s ruling that the state’s marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process requirements. Then in June, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling for LGBT advocates, finding that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. To some, these high profile decisions have created a perception that the fight for LGBT equality has been won. Advocates, however, say plenty of barriers remain in a broad range of categories from legal guardianship of children, to employment and housing discrimination.
Earlier this month, the first same-sex couple to be married in Florida, Cathy Pareto and Karla Arguello, filed a lawsuit after the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics didn’t allow a hospital to list both of them as parents on the birth certificates of their newborn twins. Meanwhile, State Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, will renew an effort in the 2016 Florida legislative session to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We’ll explore the barriers that remain for Florida’s LGBT residents.