In late June, the United States Supreme Court threw out provisions of the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8. But, what does that mean in the state of Florida, which passed a constitutional amendment in 2008 barring same-sex marriage?
In a legal sense, very little, which leaves many gay couples in limbo in the state of Florida.
The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of DOMA’s section 2, which does allow states to not recognize gay marriages performed in other states where it is legal.
In other words, a gay marriage that is legal in California or New York will not be recognized in the state of Florida. Proponents of gay marriage say that obstacles to overturning Florida’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage will be tough to overcome given the high bar set in the Florida legislature and the perceived conservatism of the 11th Circuit court, which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
This adds up to a legal maze that gay couples in Florida must traverse; seeing as they do not receive the same legal protections that straight married couples in the state are afforded. Simple legal procedures, such as tax filings, home and land ownership, Social Security payments, medical benefits or transfer of wealth, can be complicated for same-sex couples in Florida.
An Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors in Coral Gables told the Miami Herald that as long as Florida is allowed to not recognize same-sex marriages, gay couples should continue to protect themselves with contracts and “other legal agreements.”
Regardless what side of the fence you are on this issue, one thing is clear: speaking to an attorney about family law matters is essential. Whether you are dealing with a divorce, child custody or what your options may be in a non-traditional relationship, the family law attorneys at Farah & Farah can explain your legal rights.
Do you have questions about your options? Call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact Farah & Farah for a free and confidential consultation.