Wilton Manors, FL - Carol Wartenberg committed to Laura Hohnecker over 30 years ago. Their love was recognized many times in ceremonies both public and private, even while America and the State of Florida didn't affirm it by law.
While employed by the Broward County School Board as school psychologist, Carol signed on to the Florida Retirement System (FRS) Pension Plan to cover her and Laura's retirement.
Four years later, Carol discovered that the pension plan only covered married heterosexual couples. And that in the event of her passing, Laura would be disqualified from receiving her retirement benefits and the savings would be lost.
Despite knowing that she would experience a substantial loss of retirement income and increased financial risk, Carol switched her FRS Pension Plan to the FRS Investment Plan because it allowed her family to receive equal benefits.
Nine years later, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the state's Defense of Marriage act and recognized same-sex marriage. Carol requested that her account be transferred back to the original FRS Pension Plan and was denied.
As a result, Carol and Laura are facing more than $170,000 in lost retirement income over the course of their golden years.
This is intolerable.
We're seeking legal action to reclaim her lost retirement benefits by suing the Broward County School Board and the Florida Retirement System for retirement discrimination.
To date, we've spent more than $13,000 dollars. We're only getting started. This is very new law and requires a constitutional challenge in the State of Florida. We hope a decision in our favor will help other same-sex families seek compensation if they've been discriminated against under similar circumstances.