Florida judge strikes down state's gay marriage ban

By Kyle Johnson,

A third ruling on Florida's gay marriage ban followed the same result as the other two and found that it was unconstitutional.

Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen's decision, which affects only south Florida's Broward County follows a July 17 ruling in Monroe County and a similar ruling in Miami-Dade, according to the Miami Herald.

"The Court is well aware of the emotionally charged environment behind this important issue," Cohen wrote in his opinion. "However, politics and emotionality cannot rule. It is the laws of our government that create the free society we enjoy."

The judge added, "This Court believes that the issue here is not whether there is a right to same-sex marriage but instead whether there is a right to marriage from which same-sex couples can be excluded."

The ruling was stayed pending an almost certain appeal from state Attorney General Pam Bondi, Reuters reports, as she is doing so with the other two Florida rulings.

One interesting wrinkle in the ruling is that it was filed by Heather Brasner who is seeking to get her Vermont civil union dissolved after her partner up and disappeared four years ago. Florida does not recognize the civil union and Vermont requires a signed affidavit from the estranged partner.

"We've been separated for four years," Brassner said. "I call it 'the invisible string.'" She admits to being worried that her partner will try to "go after [her] for money" or use her name to buy property.

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