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Free event looks at how same sex marriage laws affect church
Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church is hosting local attorney Joshua Jones in a community forum on the implications of the Supreme Court's recent landmark decisions concerning same-sex marriage on Tuesday, July 23.
The forum starts at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Holy Cross MCC is located at 3130 West Fairfield Dr., Pensacola. That's about a half mile west of W Street.
Many of the congregants at Holy Cross MCC are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
"We are very grateful that Joshua offered to bring us this important information," said Rev. Rick Sosbe, pastor at Holy Cross MCC. "There are many families in our church and in the larger community who have questions about how the court's decisions may impact their lives."
Jones, whose practice deals with issues important to the LGBT community as well as other areas, said many people are confused by the Court's DOMA ruling.
"It seems that a lot of people got excited by the headlines but failed to read further," Jones said. "I hope the discussion will help our local LGBT community better understand exactly what the Court did and didn't say about marriage equality and how that impacts families here in Florida."
At Tuesday's forum, Jones will discuss the Court's decisions and take questions from the audience.
"Folks who got married in another state are the most obviously effected, but it also calls on the rest of us to push forward with marriage equality efforts here in Florida," Jones said. "We just got a huge step forward, but there's still much work to be done."
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned the federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal.
The ban prevented legally-married same-sex couples from the federal benefits that opposite-sex couples enjoy, such as inheriting a deceased spouse's estate without being required to pay taxes on the inheritance.
On jurisdictional grounds, the Court also let stand a lower court ruling that invalidated California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage.
In Florida, same-sex marriage was explicitly outlawed by a 2008 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution. However, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.