Same Sex Divorce in Sarasota, Florida
If I have a valid same sex marriage from another state, can I get divorced in Sarasota, Florida? Yes, assuming you meet the standard jurisdictional requirements for divorce in Florida.
In a recent decision from Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeals, the court ruled that a same sex couple, that was married in Massachusetts could legally dissolve their marriage in Florida, after having moved here. In theory, Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act would prevent such a divorce. However, the Court ruled that the Act was unconstitutional as applied to this situation. Specifically, the court ruled that there was no rational basis for a law that prevents a legally married same sex couple seeking a divorce, while allowing a similarly situated heterosexual couple from seeking a divorce.
Reading cases is pretty dry stuff. However, the court had some fun in this case, and really turned the argument of the Attorney General on its head. (The Attorney General was opposed to allowing the divorce). Specifically, the Court commented:
The Attorney General identifies a different legitimate purpose, arguing that Florida’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage properly furthers Florida’s longstanding history of defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. However, refusing to allow Florida’s courts to exercise jurisdiction to dissolve same-sex marriages will not further this stated public policy in any manner. In fact, refusing to allow the dissolution of these marriages seemingly contravenes Florida’s public policy. If the policy is to prevent, eliminate, discourage, or otherwise preclude same-sex marriage in Florida, permitting the courts to dissolve same-sex marriages that have been previously entered into in other states would arguably further that policy by reducing the number of same-sex married couples in Florida.
Rough translation: If you are really going to take the position that the law supports bigotry, then then at least be consistent in your bigotry.
If you would like to read the entire case, I have provided the link: