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Third judge in three weeks strikes down Florida’s gay marriage ban

Third judge in three weeks strikes down Florida’s gay marriage ban

Florida’s ban in same-sex marriages suffered another blow today when a state judge – the third in three weeks – ruled that the ban violates that US constitution.

The ruling by Broward County state Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen applies only to that particular county and the judge issues an immediate stay pending the expected appeal.

Cohen ruled in a lawsuit filed by Heather Brassner who had entered into a civil union with Megan Lade in Vermont and is seeking a divorce in Florida. 

Brassner’s attorney filed a motion for the judge to rule on Florida’s constitutional ban when he indicated he was not prepared to grant the divorce without addressing the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban.

The other two same-sex marriage rulings in Florida came on 17 July in Monroe County and 25 July in Miami-Dade County.

Those rulings – both stayed – required local clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Cohen’s ruling is the first of the three that requires that state to recognize a same-sex union from another state.

‘Every win in court brings us closer than we’ve ever been to the freedom to marry in Florida,’ said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. 

‘We look forward to the day when all loving, committed couples and their families enjoy the same protections, opportunities and responsibilities of marriage under the law.  Every passing day inflicts real hardships on families who are denied the legal protection and dignity that marriage equality provides.’