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.
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.
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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.