Nancy Wilson and Paula Schoenwether (plaintiffs) were legally married in Massachusetts. The plaintiffs presented their Massachusetts marriage license to the clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office in Hillsborough County, Florida, so that the clerk could accept and recognize the license in Florida. Clerk Richard Ake (defendant) denied the plaintiffs’ request for recognition. The plaintiffs sued Ake and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (defendant), arguing that (1) the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution mandated that Florida recognize the plaintiffs’ valid Massachusetts marriage license, (2) the right to marry a person of the same sex was a fundamental right, and (3) strict-scrutiny review should be applied to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The United States filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that encouraging the raising of children in households with both a father and mother was a legitimate state interest.