The Impact of the Supreme Court Ruling on Floridians
Recently, the United States Supreme Court made history when it handed down one of the most monumental decisions to ever affect the laws of domestic relations. In a 5-4 ruling, the court determined that all same sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. For decades, proponents and opponents battled over this controversial issue. Over the last few years, gay marriage supporters saw small, but important victories, as individual states lifted their legal bans. Many of these successes were quickly undermined by successive court challenges and divided judicial decisions about the legality of bans. This led to increased variations among the states, with some jurisdictions allowing for civil unions and others disallowing any type of union between same sex couples.
A Brief History
The Supreme Court ruling unifies the state variations by legalizing same sex marriage as the law of the land. A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times discusses the impact of the decision on the Sunshine State. The Florida legislature has seen little common ground on most issues relating to same sex couples, including marriage. Some of the state’s most notable changes include:
- – In 2008, Florida residents voted by 62% to approve an amendment to the state constitution that limits marriage to a man and a woman.
- – In the years following, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and other municipalities created domestic partnership registries to recognize same sex unions. However, these couples were still denied marital financial or legal rights under state law.
- – In August of 2014, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the state’s ban was unconstitutional.
- – As of January 2015, gay marriage technically became legal in Florida, but a pending appeal to the 11thS. Circuit Court of Appeals left the issue in limbo.
- * Many local clerks of court reportedly refused the performance of same sex marriage ceremonies.
- * Same sex couples who married in other states found themselves unable to get a divorce from state courts.
- * The Bureau of Vital Statistics reportedly failed to perform expedited procedures to recognize same sex marriages on birth and death certificates.
Experts believe that the new ruling will eliminate some of the reluctance to conform, according to the report. But some lawmakers and religious leaders are declaring their continued resistance and intention to keep fighting. Even so, the state of Florida can no longer refuse to marry same sex couples. As such:
- – These couples are entitled to every benefit and right conferred any other married couple, including tax credits, medical disclosures and employment benefits.
- – The marriages of same sex couples in other states must be legally recognized within the state of Florida.
- – Florida courts must grant divorces to same sex couples when adequate grounds exist under state laws.
At Vanessa L. Prieto, LLC we care about the wellbeing of all families and work to help people through the conflicts of divorce. Located in Fort Lauderdale, our office serves Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Call us today at 954-800-2362 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.