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Could same-sex marriage momentum be moving to Florida?

Over the last few years, the issue of same-sex marriage has swept across the country. As a number of states have legalized unions between same-sex couples, observers in Florida believe that similar movement might be coming to the Sunshine State.

Accompanying a large uptick in the number of states that recognize same-sex marriages is a groundswell in public support for the unions. In 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage by a wide margin. Today, polls show that a majority of Floridians now support same-sex unions.

Some Florida residents may not be able to wait for changes in LGBT family law, however. Couples who have spent years together may have legal needs to address, but they don't have the legal protections of marriage as an option. As such, it may be necessary to create domestic partnership agreement to address division of assets in case the couple eventually decides to split up.

Even if same-sex marriage comes to Florida sooner rather than later, couples who have spent many years acquiring assets and property together could benefit from the legal security of a partnership agreement. Divorce law addresses assets that are accrued during a marriage. Those who have spent many years together before getting married could be exposed to a lot of uncertainty if safeguards aren't in place to address the previously acquired assets.

Recent developments in Utah, a state that also has a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, could also cause ripples in Florida. A federal circuit court judge recently ruled that the state's marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Knowing the impact of this ruling in a state with similar laws, Florida residents may want to be on the lookout for potential changes.

Source: WFSU News, "Six Months After DOMA Ruling, Florida Gay-Rights Group Says Lawsuit Imminent," Jessica Palombo, Dec. 20, 2013

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