Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Continues to Crumble: Broward Judge Rules Against It

Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Continues to Crumble: Broward Judge Rules Against It
Photo by George Martinez

Always a little late to the party, but still ahead of the rest of Florida, Broward County has joined the movement to strike down Florida's ban on same sex marriages. A judge in Broward this afternoon has ruled that Florida's ban is unconstitutional, a judgment that follows two similar opinions out of Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.

Unlike those cases, which involved couples seeking the right to marry, this case involved a couple that had entered a civil union in Vermont who were seeking the right to divorce in Florida.

See also: Miami-Dade Judge Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

Heather Brassner and Megan Lade entered a Vermont civil union back in 2002. The two eventually split, and Lade has apparently disappeared. Brassner can't seem to find her even with the help of a private investigator.

Vermont has since passed full marriage for same-sex couples, but under their previous civil union laws, both couples must be present to sign off on the dissolution of the union. So now Brassner wants a divorce granted in absentia here in Florida.

In his ruling, Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen deemed that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. constitution.

Like the cases in Miami-Dade and Monroe County, the decision is expected to be stayed as the cases make their way through the appeal system. The Miami-Dade and Monroe Count cases are expected to be combined and may wind up before either the Florida or U.S. Supreme Court.

Though, both candidates running for Attorney General in the Democratic Primary have indicated that they would let the original rulings stand without further appeal.

The news comes after a day after a Tampa Bay Times poll of Florida political insiders found that the state's party heavyweights on both sides expect that it's only a matter of time until same-sex marriage comes to Florida.

Broward County, by the way, is home to Wilton Manors, the Ft. Lauderdale suburb with the most concentrated gay population in Florida.

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