[JURIST] The Florida Second District Court of Appeal [official website] on Wednesday issued an opinion [text; PDF] calling upon the Florida Supreme Court [official website] to rule on the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The case involves a same-sex couple that married in Massachusetts in 2010 and subsequently relocated to Florida. The couple separated in 2013, and divorce papers were filed in Florida in January. The court, in a 10-3 en banc decision, stated:
the order on appeal requires immediate resolution by the Florida Supreme Court because the issues pending are of great public importance and will have a great effect on the proper administration of justice throughout the state.The court acknowledged that the constitutional issues central to the case "impact far more individuals than the two involved here" and that regardless of their decision in the particular case, the constitutional issues will need to be decided by the Florida Supreme Court if not, the federal Supreme Court. Prior to the Second District Court's decision, courts in four Florida counties: Palm Beach, Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward had found that Florida's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Since the US Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section three of the Defense of Marriage Act [text] last year, numerous state and federal courts have declared state same-sex marriage bans [JURIST backgrounder] unconstitutional. Earlier this week a three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] heard arguments on Wisconsin and Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage. In June a federal judge in Indiana ruled [JURIST report] the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Also in June the ACLU challenged Alabama's same sex marriage ban, days after Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban [JURIST reports] was struck down. In May a federal judge struck down [JURIST report] Pennsylvania's same sex marriage ban. Nineteen US states currently allow same-sex marriage, and more than 70 lawsuits are pending in all 31 others.