BREAKING: Judge Rules Florida Must Recognize Out-of-State Gay Marriages

FloridaA third Florida judge has just struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the state must also recognize all legal, out-of-state marriages, Freedom to Marry reports:

The ruling in today's case, from Broward County Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, is the third marriage ruling in three weeks, following a July 17 ruling in Monroe County's Huntsman v. Heavilinand July 25's ruling in Miami-Dade County's Pareto v. Ruvin. In all 3 cases, judges ruled that banning same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional. All three rulings are stayed, and the two previous rulings have been appealed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. 

For now, today's decision only applies to Broward County. The next step for the Miami-Dade and Monroe County decisions is review by Florida's 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Last week, the plaintiffs in both cases moved to consolidate their cases and filed a motion seeking review directly by the Florida Supreme Court. 

Equality Florida adds:

This marks the third time in the past few weeks that a Republican-appointed judge in Florida has ruled on the side of marriage equality.

“Every win in court brings us closer than we’ve ever been to the freedom to marry in Florida,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.  "We look forward to the day when all loving, committed couples and their families enjoy the same protections, opportunities and responsibilities of marriage under the law.  Every passing day inflicts real hardships on families who are denied the legal protection and dignity that marriage equality provides."

The lawsuit was filed by Heather Brassner, who had entered into a civil union in Vermont and is seeking a divorce in Florida.  The judge indicated that “He was not prepared to grant the divorce without addressing the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban — and the same-sex marriage recognition ban,” according to Nancy Brodzki, Brassner’s attorney.  Brodzki then filed a motion for the judge to rule on Florida’s constitutional ban.