Broward county judge Dale Cohen yesterday overturned Florida’s ban on gay marriage for a second time after he vacated his first ruling on a legal technicality.
Cohen first ruled the ban unconstitutional on 4 August in a lawsuit filed by Heather Brassner, who entered a civil union with her now estranged partner in Vermont in 2002 but sought a divorce in Florida.
However, Cohen was not prepared to grant the divorce without first addressing the constitutionality of the gay marriage ban.
He vacated his ruling in September after learning Brassner’s attorney failed to properly notify the state of the proceedings.
On 8 December, Cohen once again overturned the ban and put his ruling on hold pending appeal.
Monroe, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have also lifted Florida’s ban, which voters passed in 2008.
Federal judge Robert Hinkle overturned the ban in Tallahassee county in August and put his ruling on hold until 5 January. This means gay couples will be able to marry in the state on 6 January unless the Supreme Court extends the stay, which is unlikely.