Main | Tuesday, September 09, 2014

FLORIDA: Broward County Judge Vacates Ruling That Overturned Marriage Ban

The same Broward County judge that last month struck down Florida's ban on same-sex marriage has rescinded his own ruling on a technicality. Via the Miami Herald:
“It has come to this Court’s attention that the Petitioner, Heather Brassner, has failed to comply with [state law] by failing to notice the Office of the Attorney General of these proceedings by either registered or certified mail,” Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen wrote in his order. “Therefore, this Court vacates its prior ruling declaring Article 1, section 27 and Florida Statute 741.212 unconstitutional.” Cohen canceled a hearing set for Wednesday afternoon at the Broward Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale to finalize the dissolution of Brassner’s 2002 Vermont civil union with ex-partner Megan Lade, and wrote that “the Parties may schedule a rehearing” in the case. Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office said Tuesday it had not been in touch with the judge and “will continue to monitor the case,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Meale.

Thirty days after Cohen ruled, Brassner’s attorney, Nancy Brodzki, declared victory and expected Brassner’s divorce to become final on Sept. 10. She and other LGBT activists hoped the ruling would pave the way to gay marriage in Broward. Brodzki said Tuesday she got a call from Cohen’s judicial assistant, after the judge realized the state had not been notified. “The judge being a very thorough judge, obviously was doing all his research prior to tomorrow’s ruling and came across a rule of civil procedure as well as the Florida Statute, and recognized that that rule and statute had not been strictly complied with,” said Brodzki, a Coral Springs divorce lawyer. “He is being scrupulous that he, as the judge, and we, as the petitioners, have dotted every I and crossed every T. He found one and wants to correct it, so that his judgment, when it is entered, is not attacked on procedural grounds.”
The plaintiff says she's not angry with her attorney, calling the lack of notice an "oversight." (Tipped by JMG reader Lulu)

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