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Florida’s same-sex couples still encountering issues with the law

If you’ve been following the news like we have, then you know that the state of family law has been in flux for months here in Florida. Following the wake of several Circuit Court decisions that have effectively done away with same-sex marriage bans in many states, Judge Hinkle decreed that all Florida counties follow suit and were allowed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of January 6.

But even though Hinkle’s order was received by cheers from same-sex couples across the state, it has created some rather unique legal situations that have left residents, lawyers and even courts unsure on how to proceed. Back in a February post, we touched on a few of these issues. Today, we’d like to continue the discussion by pointing out a few more legal headaches the state has yet to resolve.

Adoption

Despite the freedom to marry, Florida’s same-sex parents are still running into issues regarding adoption. That’s because our state still has two laws on the books that some might call discriminatory against gays. While one law bans same-sex couples from adopting altogether, the other allows foster care and private adoption agencies to reject adoption applications of same-sex couples.

Some are seeing this as a huge conflict of law that was not automatically changed when same-sex marriage was legalized.

Employment

Another conflict in the law is the fact that employers in the state can largely still discriminate against gay or transgender workers. That’s because only 10 counties in Florida, including Hillsborough County, have passed protective orders that make it illegal for employers to fire workers simply because of their sexual orientation.

As Jim Brenner, a plaintiff in a successful federal lawsuit that challenged the state’s same-sex marriage ban, said it best, “There’s still a lot of work to be done,” especially because the same discrimination is allowed in the housing market as well.

With the U.S. Supreme Court decision still looming, many of our readers across Orange and Hillsborough County may have questions about how the law applies now and what they can expect down the road. Though these questions may be answered in time by media reports, our readers can always get the answers they need from any of the skilled attorneys here at Morris & Hancock, PA. as well.

Source: The Tampa Bay Times, “Florida still sorting out gay marriage issues as U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear case (w/video),” Anna M. Phillips, April 25, 2015

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