Florida's ban on same-sex marriages is back off the books in Broward County.
On Monday, Broward Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen issued a ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban, just as several county judges had before him – including Broward Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen.
The case involved Heather Brassner, who wanted a divorce after getting a civil union in Vermont in 2002. But Florida's ban on same-sex marriages prevents the state from recognizing same-sex marriages or civil unions performed in other states. Therefore, Brassner couldn't get divorced in the state.
She went to court to fight and on Aug. 4, after hearing her case, Cohen overturned Florida's same-sex marriage ban.
However, Cohen vacated his ruling when he learned that Brassner's attorneys did not give the state enough time to file an appeal.
On Monday, Cohen once again ruled the ban unconstitutional and put his ruling on hold pending appeal.
Still, that will not affect the swiftly approaching deadline in a federal case in Tallahassee.
Federal judge Robert Hinkle overturned Florida's same-sex marriage ban on Aug. 21, and put his ruling on hold until Jan. 5.
A federal appeals court still needs to hear the case, and could reverse Hinkle's decision, but that will not happen until well after the Jan. 5. The only way the deadline can now be extended is if the full appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to extend Hinkle's stay, which lawyers involved in the case consider a long shot.
So, barring unlikely circumstances, on Jan. 6, gay and lesbian couples in Florida can get marriage licenses, and Florida must recognize those already married in other states.
Also, Heather Brassner can finally get that divorce.
From our media partner Sun Sentinel