Judge Grants First Gay Divorce in Florida

But the milestone will likely be appealed
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2014 7:12 PM CST
Judge Grants First Gay Divorce in Florida
File photo of the marriage of two women.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A judge in Florida made a little history today by granting the state's first divorce of a gay couple, reports the AP. But because the decision involves two different states and pending appeals, thing get convoluted in the way that only gay-marriage cases can. In today's court hearing, Broward Judge Dale Cohen dissolved the marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade, who were joined in a 2002 civil union in Vermont. Brassner says she hasn't seen Lade for several years and filed for divorce in absentia. But "the court needed to recognize the relationship as an out-of-state civil union first, in order to grant it," explains the local New Times. "This meant Cohen had to weigh in on Florida's same-sex marriage ban."

He did so, declaring the ban unconstitutional in August and then again, because of a legal technicality, on Dec. 8, reports the Miami Herald. The divorce hearing followed today. "This is a historic day," says Brassner attorney Nancy Brodzki. "This is the first divorce for a same-sex couple. It will not be the last divorce." Brodzki, though, expects Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to appeal. And this is separate from a case on the federal level in which a judge declared the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional but put a stay in place until Jan. 5. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles appeals in this region, will decide before then whether the stay will be extended. (More gay rights stories.)

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