Broward News

Gay Student Sues FAU for Not Recognizing His Marriage

Gildas Dousset, a student at Florida Atlantic University, 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 with the Fourth District Court of Appeals, argues that state law barring recognition of valid out-of-state marriages from other states violates the U.S. Constitution.

Dousset, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, legally married his Florida-resident husband in Massachusetts in 2013. Dousset says he applied for in-state tuition as a spouse but was turned down because FAU refused to recognize his marriage.

"Florida is my home, and I would like my marriage to be recognized just as other students' marriages are," Dousset 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," Dousset'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 handling 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 arguments in that case will take place 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. But even though the feds will recognize these marriages, the state won't, so any gay couple needs to fly elsewhere to get hitched.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph