There have been many stories in the news recently about homosexual couples being denied marriage licenses due to certain states not recognizing same-sex marriages, but rarely do you hear about couples being denied divorces for the same reason.
However, that is exactly what happened for one lesbian couple living in Hillsborough County. They originally got married in Massachusetts and ended up moving to Tampa. In their divorce filing, which was started in January, they were attempting an uncontested divorce.
In the ruling, released on May 9, the judge stated that a divorce could not be granted for a marriage which the state does not recognize. In the ruling, judge Laurel M. Lee cited the 2008 constitutional amendment which 62% of the population put in place.
The amendment states “inasmuch marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”
An attorney, speaking on behalf of half the couple, said that they would be appealing the decision to the Second District Court of Appeal, and that this is not a direct challenge to the 2008 amendment, as they are attempting to dissolve a marriage rather than collect the legal benefits from it.
It is unknown how the appeal will play out, but if this first appeal fails, the couple are expected to continue appealing. The ACLU and the Equality Florida Institute are expected to join in, attempting to challenge the amendment.