Meet the Couples in our Lawsuit to End Marriage Discrimination
The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of eight married same-sex couples and SAVE to challenge Florida’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. Learn more about the lawsuit.
No couple should have to choose between the place they call home and the privileges that come with marriage. If these eight couples are victories, no Florida couple will have to make that choice again.
These are the eight couples who are represented in the case:
Sloan Grimsley and Joyce Albu were married in New York in August 2011. They have been together for 9 years and currently live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. They are raising two young daughters, ages 2 and 5, who they adopted. They also have two grown sons from prior relationships. Sloan is a firefighter and paramedic for the City of Palm Beach Gardens. Joyce is a consultant for children living with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Joyce and Sloan also own a farm where families in which some members are living with neurodevelopmental disorders can engage in a variety of therapeutic activities.
Joyce and Sloan are concerned that if something were to happen to Sloan in the line of duty, Joyce would not receive the same support provided by the state to surviving spouses of first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice, and thus Joyce would be unable to fully provide for their family’s needs.
Chuck Hunziker and Bob Collier have been together for over 50 years and currently live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bob is 79 years old, and Chuck is 81 years old. Bob served as a Captain in the U.S. Army in the medical corps in the 82nd Airborne Division and Special Forces during the Vietnam War.
Chuck is a disabled veteran; he served as an enlisted man in the Navy during the Korean War and spent 18 months in a Naval and VA hospitals. For most of their professional lives, Bob and Chuck worked in New York, Chuck for Mobil Corporation and Bob for MetLife, Inc. Having retired in Florida, they are now involved in local charities, including Tuesday’s Angels, which provides emergency assistance to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. They were married in New York in July of 2013.
Lindsay Myers and Sarah Humlie were married in Washington, D.C., in December 2012. They have been together for 3 ½ years and currently live in Pensacola, Florida. Lindsay has a master’s degree in theology and currently works for the University of West Florida as a digital content producer for WUBF, a university-licensed NPR affiliate. Sarah is the Executive Director of the Pensacola Humane Society.
Sarah does not receive health insurance through her employer, and because Lindsay is not permitted to have Sarah on her health insurance plan because of Florida’s discriminatory ban on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples, the couple must pay hundreds of dollars per month for private health insurance for Sarah.
Robert Loupo and John Fitzgerald have been together for 12 years and currently live in Coconut Grove in Miami with their rescued dog Carolina.
Robert has been a school counselor for Miami-Dade County Public Schools for approximately fourteen years and served before that for fourteen years as a high school English teacher. He is the co-founder and executive director of Safe Schools South Florida, a non-profit organization that facilitates trainings on bullying and sexual minority issues, providing professional development and continuing education credits to educators and staff; and holds conferences and leadership trainings for gay-straight alliance student members and their allies. John is retired and worked previously in customer service for Delta Airlines and in the Administrative Office of the Courts for Miami-Dade County in the Traffic Division.
They married in New York in November 2013.
Denise Hueso and Sandra Newson will celebrate their 17th anniversary together in April of 2014. They currently live in Miami, Florida. Denise is the lead clinical care coordinator for the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, which offers support services for LGBT youth. Sandra is the Vice President of Residence Services at Carrfour Supportive Housing, an organization that confronts homelessness by developing affordable housing and providing supportive services as a pathway to self-sufficiency.
Together they have a 15-year-old son who they have cared for since he was 10 years old, first as foster parents and then as adoptive parents. They were married in Massachusetts in August 2009.
Thomas Gantt Jr. and Juan Del Hierro are the parents of Lucas, a 14-month-old, who they adopted. They have been together for 6 years and currently live in North Miami Beach, Florida. Juan is the Director of Ministry Empowerment for Unity on the Bay, a spiritual community in Miami. Tom teaches science at a virtual school, having taught for more than a decade in public schools.
They were married in Washington, DC in December of 2010. Before that, they held a symbolic ceremony before friends and family in Miami in July 2010.
Richard Milstein and Eric Hankin have been together for 12 years and currently live in Miami Beach, where Richard went to elementary through high school; Richard received his undergraduate degrees from Miami-Dade College and the University of Miami, where he also received his law degree.
Richard is an attorney who specializes in trusts, estates, and family services, with a particular focus on vulnerable adults and children. Richard has been an active leader in the Florida and Dade County Bars and in the Miami-Dade community for decades, volunteering numerous hours to a variety of civic causes. Eric, who has resided in Miami Beach for almost three decades, is an architect who currently teaches architecture and design in a nationally recognized magnet public school in Miami. They were married in Iowa in March 2010.
Christian Ulvert and Carlos Andrade were married in Washington, D.C., in July 2013. They have been together for four years and currently live in Miami. Christian previously worked in the state legislature and now works as a political consultant. Carlos is the new media director of EDGE Communications and also owns an online jewelry store.
Christian and Carlos would like to have a family one day, and want to be sure that, when they do, they have all the legal protections of marriage.
Arlene Goldberg and Carol Goldwasser had been friends since the two were teenagers in the Bronx and became a couple at the age of 20. The two moved to Florida in 1989 for Carol’s health, and travelled to New York to be married in October 2011, three months after the state began performing same-sex marriages. In the months that followed, Carol’s health deteriorated and on March 13, 2014, the same day that the ACLU of Florida announced the lawsuit, Carol Goldwasser passed away after the two had been together for 47 years.