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Gay Marriage Focus Shifts To South Florida

With many in Congress urging a "go slow" approach to President George W. Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, a South Florida attorney plans to take action against Florida's defense of marriage law.
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Gay marriage, an issue that is turning into a heated election year debate, will be the focus of a lawsuit filed by South Florida lawyer Ellis Rubin on behalf of gay clients who want to get married.

"If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America," President George W. Bush said on Tuesday. (Watch President Bush's entire speech by clicking on the FeedRoom icon at right.)

South Florida Sounds Off: Read what other South Floridians are saying, and

Bush's call for a constitutional ban on gay marriage is sparking reaction throughout the country and in South Florida.

"We are supposed to be free. We are supposed to be able to be who we want to be in America," said South Florida gay activist Sarah Parr. "Yet he's telling us that we can't be gay and have the same rights as everybody else."

"It is not a comfortable feeling to know that someone who is leading the country at the moment of war and crime to tell me that I'm not as equal to two other people who want to marry and make the commitment," said gay marriage supporter Charles Matthew.

As the president calls on congress to take action, the issue is also set to heat up today in Broward County Court as Ellis Rubin plans to file a lawsuit against the state of Florida and a law that makes same-sex marriages illegal in the state.

Rubin's client, William Ash, is a part-time South Florida resident who recently spoke to NBC 6 from his home in San Diego.

"Me getting married is not going to impact anyone's life. So, I think people are realizing that and they realize that everyone deserves the right to be happy and in a committed relationship," said Ash.

Some legal experts think Rubin has a strong legal argument based on the equal protection clause. But that legal precedent may work against him.

Rubin says he's going to file his challenge to the gay marriage ban at noon today. Meanwhile, President Bush is hoping congress will approve a ban on gay marriages that will override any types of rulings that might come out of lawsuits like the one Rubin is filing in Broward County.

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