Recognizing Legal Same Sex Marriages in Florida

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same sex/GLBTA on Wednesday, February 26, 2014.

I blogged earlier about same sex couples who legally marry outside Florida, but can’t divorce because same sex marriages aren’t recognized. A federal judge recently ruled that Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Is this a prelude to striking Florida’s same-sex marriage ban?

A federal judge in the Western District of Kentucky has struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky’s prohibition violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by treating gays and lesbians differently in a way that demeans them.

The Judge ruled:

While religious beliefs are vital to the fabric of society, assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.

The judge then struck down part of Kentucky’s marriage statute which says only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.

Florida’s is similar, and generally provides:

Marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in any jurisdiction which are treated as marriages are not recognized for any purpose in this state.

Not everyone in Kentucky is happy. State Representative Stan Lee, who championed Kentucky’s marriage law said:

“My heart breaks for my country – a country that I believe the founding fathers established as a country under God. A ruling like this, diametrically opposed to God’s law, breaks my heart.”

Interestingly, Judge Heyburn is a Republican, and was nominated for the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. One of the more interesting comments in the decision:

“The exclusion of same-sex couples on procreation grounds makes just as little sense as excluding post-menopausal couples or infertile couples on procreation grounds.”

You can read more about the case in the Courier-Journal.