In Florida, gay marriage is not legally allowed because the state has statues that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In 1997, the state passed the Defense of Marriage Act which bars legal recognition of same sex relationships including those that are legally recognized by other states. In November, 2008, Same sex marriages and civil unions were banned in Florida.
Gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnership are without any legal recognition in Florida. In fact, individuals in LGBT relationships, are entitled to no rights or responsibilities that pertain to their relationship. In addition, in Florida, gay individuals are unable to legally adopt children. While court cases are pending, LGBT individuals are unable to even adopt their partner’s child. Florida is the only state that has a ban on gay adoption. Even though the courts ruled that it was unconstitutional to forbid gay adoption in 2008, the issue has not yet been settled. Court cases are still pending and people must agree, in writing, that they are not homosexual when applying to adopt a child in Florida.
The gay marriage debate continues in Florida. In fact, some local governments have begun to afford legal recognition to domestic partnership, defying state law. In 2010, Miami allowed benefits for domestic partnerships. In addition, Broward county recognizes Domestic partnership. In 2004, an attorney filed suit in Broward County seeking legal recognition of gay marriage. Debates continue on local and state levels. In certain cities, such as Key West, individuals have symbolically requested the right to a marriage licenses, even though only the County government has the right to grant licenses.
There have been peaceful demonstrations of that sort around the state of Florida. After LGBT couples are turned down for their licenses, they will often take part in ceremonies to bring attention to the inequality perpetrated by their state’s government. In Florida, gay marriages are not legally recognized but that does not prevent couples from taking part in ceremonies meant to solidify their relationship and bring attention to the gay marriage debate.
The gay marriage debate is likely to continue for some time. While some people believe that marriage can only define the union of a man and a woman, others believe that it can apply to any couples that voluntarily enter into a legal union. In Florida, gay rights are lagging behind those provided in states like Connecticut, that legally recognize gay marriages.
Debate will continue until equal rights are afforded to all citizens, as provided for in the United State’s Constitution and in each state’s constitution. Perhaps the outcome of pending court cases regarding gay adoption in Florida, will effect the laws pertaining to gay marriage.