There has been a significant push for Florida to legalize gay marriages, but the latest victory came in an odd manner – the first formal divorce for a gay couple was granted by a Broward County judge. In fact, it is the same judge who ruled that the State’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Judge Cohen’s ruling that Florida’s ban on gay-marriage reasoned that the State law violates the Constitutional rights of equal protection and due process of the law.
In the case at hand, Heather Brassner and Megan Lade were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2002. Brassner has been trying to obtain a divorce since 2010 since Lade allegedly cheated on her and abandoned her years ago. Vermont courts refused to undo their union without an affidavit signed by Lade. In order to grant the divorce, Judge Cohen not only recognized their marriage as legal, it also required him to find that out-of-state marriages are recognized in Florida. Colorado and Texas have also permitted gay divorces despite their state bans on gay marriages.
Only time will tell if the Attorney General Pam Bondi will appeal the Brassner decision, but she has appealed other rulings that have gone against Florida’s ban on gay marriage. If Bondi appeals, the Broward case would be heard in the 4th District Court of Appeal. There are two other gay-marriage cases already pending in Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal.
On January 6, 2015, Florida’s ban on gay marriage was lifted. Florida is the 36th in the nation to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. According to The Associated Press, Cathy Pareto and Karla Arguello, partners of 15 years, were the first gay couple to wed in Miami, Florida. Counties across the state are preparing for an influx of same-sex marriage applications. The U.S. Supreme Court will on Friday decide whether or not to rule on gay marriage at the federal level during its current term.
We will keep an eye on this evolving issue in Florida, so be sure to check back to our blog for updates. Contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters.