Federal judge strikes down Florida’s marriage ban

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On Thursday United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ruled that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Hinkle’s ruling not only struck down Florida’s ban, but also included a prohibition on the state from refusing to recognize marriages performed legally in other jurisdictions.  He did, however, issue a stay pending appeal of his ruling.

Although he immediately put the stay in place, Judge Hinkle also ordered the state to revise the death certificate of Carol Goldwasser, who died earlier this year.  He ordered the state to include the name of Goldwasser’s wife, Arlene Goldberg.  The couple was married in New York in 2011.

Goldberg sued seeking recognition of their marriage in order to obtain Goldwasser’s Social Security Benefits.  The couple had been together for 47 years prior to Goldwasser’s death.   Goldwasser’s elderly parents live with Goldberg and without those benefits, the filing states, she would be unable to keep her home.

Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, like Utah’s, is a constitutional amendment.  It was passed by 62% of the voters in a 2008 election.  Five Florida state judges – in Monroe, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties – have ruled similarly in the past 6 weeks.

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