Florida Becomes 36th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriages
As of January 6, 2015, Florida now allows same-sex marriages to occur throughout the state, due to a ruling handed down by a federal judge in north Florida stating that county clerks across the state must give marriage licenses to same-sex couples. According to U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee, the same-sex marriage ban that had previously existed in Florida was unconstitutional.
The amendment to the Florida state constitution instituting the ban was passed in 2008. Hinkle allowed for an appeals process to go through his August ruling, but the latest decision he issued on January 2 reaffirmed his decision of just over four months ago to end the ban.
Some clerks had issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples between the late-August and January 2 decisions. Same-sex marriage opponents within state government had warned these clerks that they risked jail or fines for violating the ban, as some initially interpreted the order to abolish the ban as only covering Washington County. But now that Judge Hinkle has reaffirmed his decision, he sent a clear message to clerks across the state that they must comply with the order.
This is big news for same-sex couples throughout the state that are looking to engage in estate planning as well. There are different considerations that legally married couples must take into account in their estate plan than those that simply have lived together for long periods of time.
If you have questions about how the end of the same-sex marriage ban could impact your estate planning efforts, speak with an experienced Tampa lawyer at Philip A. Baumann, P.A.