Florida judge in Broward County rules in favor of the freedom to marry
December 08, 2014
UPDATED 12/17: On December 17, Judge Cohen made it official when he finalized the dissolution of a marriage in Florida.
Today, December 8, 2014, a Circuit judge in Broward County, FL ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, adding to the growing momentum calling for marriage once and for all in Florida.
The ruling was in Brassner v. Lade, a case where a Florida woman is seeking respect for her out-of-state marriage for the purpose of dissolution of the marriage. In today's ruling, Judge Dale Cohen declared broadly that Florida must respect the plaintiff's marriage and that Florida's marriage ban is unconstitutional altogether.
Freedom to Marry applauds the legal team behind today's case, which was filed this year by lawyer Nancy Brodzki on behalf of a woman, Heather Brassner, seeking respect for her marriage for the purpose of dissolution.
Nancy Brodzki clarified today on Twitter that the decision was a new order, including language referencing the August 21 federal ruling in Brenner v. Scott, despite being signed with "August 3, 2014" at the end of the order. Brodzki tweeted: "Broward Judge again declares SS marriage ban invalid in Brassner. Next is final judgment of divorce; state will then appeal to 4th DCA. Brassner will ask 4th DCA to send case directly to FL Sup Ct if state appeals final judgment of divorce. Final judgment could come in weeks."
Here are some excerpts from Judge Cohen's ruling:
However, politics and emotionality cannot rule, it is the laws of our government that create the free society that we enjoy. The judicial role is to rule by applying the law to the facts with neutrality and impartiality.
Our country has evolved each generation, and the generation before is often baffled at the changes. Setting aside personal biases, feelings, beliefs and anxieties, and embracing change is often difficult but essential to ensuring that all people are treated fairly under our Constitution.
Our country has always strived to recognize the rights of all people. Equality is the cornerstone of our nation.
The ruling today adds to the momentum we've seen over and over this fall in Florida. Just last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied the state of Florida's request to delay the freedom to marry, clearing the way for a stay from August's federal ruling to expire on January 5. Beyond that, 5 different judges have ruled in favor of marriage for all in Florida.
It's clear that it's time for marriage once and for all in the Sunshine State.