Read the interview with Eddie published by WatermarkOnline.com
Over the past few weeks, Circuit Court judges in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties have declared the Florida ban on same sex marriages unconstitutional. The impact of these decisions has been stayed for the time being while Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appeals the decisions.
The litigants in Monroe and Miami–Dade Counties have requested their cases be heard together by the Supreme Court. The other litigants are likely to join in this request.
However, a case from Tampa (Hillsborough County) filed earlier this year may be the case that eliminates the prohibition of same-sex marriages in Florida. In Shaw v. Shaw, (Case No. 2D14-2384) the Second District Court of Appeal will resolve the circumstance of a same sex couple legally married in Massachusetts who moved to Florida six years ago. Massachusetts has a residency requirement that you have to be a current resident of that state to dissolve a marriage. In the Shaw case, Massachusetts couldn’t divorce the parties because they did not meet the residency requirement. Florida refused to divorce them because of their non-recognition of same sex marriages. This leaves the Shaws in the position to argue they are denied their right to access to courts because of Florida’s refusal to grant them a dissolution of their marriage, an argument they are likely to win.
Last week, the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar was granted approval to submit an amicus brief in support of the elimination of the prohibition on same sex marriages.
There is legal precedence in Florida for the support of equal rights. In 2010, the Third District of Appeal found the statues prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting unconstitutional. Florida is likely to extend this holding to same-sex couple marriage.
Based on these circumstances, I believe same sex marriages will be legal in Florida within a year’s time.