Florida's First Same-Sex Divorce Granted by Broward Judge

Florida's First Same-Sex Divorce Granted by Broward Judge

On the same day Pam Bondi's emergency request filing to Justice Clarence Thomas was accepted, effectively putting same-sex marriage on hold, a Broward County judge has granted a same-sex couple a divorce.

On Wednesday, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen granted Heather Brassner a divorce from her estranged domestic partner, Megan Lade.

Cohen had recently ruled -- twice -- that Florida's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized. Brassner and Lade were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2002.

According to the Associated Press, this makes the first formal same-sex divorce in Florida.

See also: Broward Judge Rules Out-of-State Gay Marriages Should Be Recognized

Brassner had been seeking to get an official divorce from Lade, but the court needed to recognize the relationship as an out-of-state civil union first, in order to grant it. This meant Cohen had to weigh in on Florida's same-sex marriage ban.

After their separation, Lade disappeared. Brassner hired a private eye to track her down, but that was unsuccessful.

Brassner then decided to file for divorce in absentia. For the divorce to be official, Cohen had to declare the ban unconstitutional so that Brassner and Lade's civil union could be legally recognized and for the divorce to be official.

Brassnber's attorney, Nancy Brodzki, told the AP that she expects Bondi to appeal the decision.

Given how Bondi's been fighting against every ruling in favor of same-sex marriage this year, that seems very likely.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

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