Gay Student Suing After FAU Failed to Recognize His Marriage UPDATE
Gildas Dousset, a student at FAU, has filed suit asking an appellate court to recognize his same-sex marriage after he says he was denied in-state tuition.
The appeal, filed in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, argues that the state's laws barring recognition of valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples violate the U.S. Constitution.
Dousset, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, legally married his Florida-resident husband in Massachusetts in 2013.
Update [Friday, 3:30 p.m.]: FAU has released a statement on the case, which we posted below this story.
Dousset says he applied for in-state tuition as the spouse of a longtime Florida resident but was turned down because Florida Atlantic University refused to recognize his marriage.
"Florida is my home and I would like my marriage to be recognized just as other students' marriages are," Dousette says via a statement through Equality Florida. "My husband has lived in Florida all of his life, and we love this state. This case is about protecting our family."
The appeal cites Florida's discrimination laws, because FAU failed to respect Dousset's marriage.
"Gildas and his husband are recognized as legally married by the federal government and by many other states," Dousette's attorney says. "But in his home state of Florida, his legal marriage is deemed void and unenforceable under Florida law. The harms inflicted by this extraordinary law are profound and burden the lives of countless Floridians."
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who is handling Dousset's case, said in a statement: "The law should support families, not make it harder for committed couples to protect their families. These laws cause great harm to same-sex couples and their families while helping no one."
The NCLR is also handing the case for six same-sex couples who are asking a state court to rule that Florida's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.
Oral argument in that case will take place later this summer.
Last August, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS ruled that it will recognize joint tax returns of gay married couples in Florida. This means that Florida residents are able to get married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal and receive federal benefits once they come back home.
But the state still doesn't recognize their marriages, and any gay couple who wants the benefits married couples receive needs to go through the trouble of flying elsewhere to get hitched.
FAU's statement via email to New Times:
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.
You can read Dousett's appeal below:
Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.
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