Broward County judge overturns Fla. same-sex marriage ban

Woman seeking dissolution of Vermont civil union not recognized in Fla.


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward County judge has overturned Florida's same-sex marriage ban, following in the footsteps of Miami-Dade County and the Keys.

Judge Dale Cohen issued the ruling Monday involving Heather Brassner and Megan Lade, WPLG reports.

According to the ruling, Brassner and Lade entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2002. At the time, it was the only form of legal relationship involving same-sex couples in Vermont.

However, in 2009, the state allowed same-sex marriages and officially dissolved civil unions.

Because civil unions can only be dissolved when both individuals sign the requisite forms, Brassner sought to find Lade so that she can be married.

Brassner has been a legal Florida resident for 14 years, but the state doesn't recognize her civil union with Lade.

"She and Ms. Lade divided all their property, including real estate," the judge wrote. "Their civil union has been dead for years. But both are still locked in this legal relationship with no other avenue to dissolve it."

Cohen ruled that the state's ban is unconstitutional.

Similar bans have been overturned by judges in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, but a stay has been ordered in both decisions while the state appeals.