Florida AG: Lesbians Can't Get Divorced
She blocks move to dissolve civil union
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2014 2:54 AM CDT
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks during a news conference at the University of South Florida in Tampa earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

(Newser) – Florida's attorney general isn't going to allow same-sex divorce any sooner than she allows same-sex marriage. In a ruling this week, Pam Bondi opposed granting a divorce petition because doing so would have required recognizing the same-sex civil union and declaring the state's marriage laws unconstitutional, reports the Miami Herald. Some background: Heather Brassner and former partner Megan Lade were granted a civil union in Vermont in 2002, but Brassner says Lade disappeared after cheating on her years ago. The Florida resident can't get a divorce in absentia if the state won't recognize the union, and Vermont can't dissolve the union without an affidavit from Lade, whom a private investigator couldn't track down.

Brassner fears that without a divorce, Lade could do things like use her name to obtain property, reports the New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Bondi—who has defended the state's same-sex marriage ban in several lawsuits—argues that a civil union isn't "equivalent to marriage for purposes of Florida's dissolution of marriage laws," so Brassner's case isn't one in which the 2008 ban can be declared unconstitutional. In August, a federal judge struck down the ban, but he issued a stay delaying the effect of his own order.