Thursday, August 7, 2014
On Tuesday, Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis, Probate Division, ruled that Florida law prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional under the United States Constitution and United States v. Windsor.
In Estate of Bangor, the Court held that Frank Bangor’s same sex spouse, W. Jason Simpson, was eligible to be the personal representative of a Florida ancillary probate estate. Because Florida law limits who can be appointed personal representative of a Florida probate estate to persons related by blood or marriage, Mr. Simpson could only be the representative if he was married to Mr. Bangor. Although Mr. Bangor and Mr. Simpson were married in Delaware in 2013, Florida law contains prohibitions on any recognition of same sex marriage. Thus, under Florida law, Mr. Bangor and Mr. Simpson were not legally married.
Judge Diana Lewis relied on the Windsor decision, holding that the Federal Defense of Marriage act was unconstitutional. Given that Florida’s ban must also then be unconstitutional, the Full Faith and Credit Clause would require Florida’s recognition of the same sex marriage.
See Jeffrey Skatoff, Florida Judge Diana Lewis: Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, Clark Skatoff, Aug. 5, 2014.