FLORIDA: Federal Court Orders State To Reissue Death Certificates To Reflect Pre-Obergefell Marriages

CBC Miami reports:

Gay marriage has been a hot topic in and out of courtrooms for the past several years. Another issue is being fixed to help those who lost loved ones before the epic court ruling.

Florida widows and widowers whose spouses died before the U.S. Supreme Court declared state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional can have the death certificates of their loved ones changed without having to go to court, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The decision in favor of gay widows and widowers is the latest ruling from U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle against the state on the issue of same-sex marriages and was hailed as a major victory by Lambda Legal, which represented the plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed in 2015.

The plaintiffs sought to have the death certificates of their spouses show they had been married, but the state argued that Florida law prohibited officials from changing the documents without a court order. “Not so,” Hinkle wrote in Thursday’s eight-page opinion.

Hinckle, not incidentally, was the judge who first struck down Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage in November 2014. More from Slate:

As Hinkle explained in his succinct but emphatic decision, this case is really very easy. Florida had interpreted existing law to require an individual court order for every person who wished to fix the death certificate of his or her same-sex spouse. This dubious interpretation may have been a result of state officials’ desire to prevent gay people from easily correcting their deceased spouses’ death certificates.

But whatever its merits, it must give way to Obergefell’s constitutional command. Under that decision, surviving same-sex spouses hold a Due Process and Equal Protection right to have their marriages recognized by the state. And by refusing to readily re-issue death certificates, Florida is actively violating the surviving spouses’ constitutional rights.

  • EweTaw

    Thank you Federal Court in Floriduh. Keep it up and maybe the state’s reputation will improve. 🙂

  • Blake J Butler

    Pence was suppose to speak about the AHCA in Little Rock today, although the event has mysteriously been canceled, with no reason why.


    • Gene



      (( even if it passes the house of madness, it will die in the Senate ))

      • Circ09

        True! It’s no different from any other time the House voted to repeal the ACA!

    • Todd20036

      Pence forgot his Depends for the trip

  • Ninja0980

    The judge that struck this down was a Clinton appointed judge.
    The fools who think both parties are the same are sadly going to get a wake up call as more conservative judges take the places of Democratic ones retiring on the Circuit and district court level.

  • EweTaw

    OT: The Psychotherapist George Weinberg who came up with the term homophobia in the 1960s, died at age 87. RIP Weinberg. For more info see: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/03/24/the-man-who-coined-the-term-homophobia-dies/

    • Gene

      me thinks you meant homophobia…but…THANK you for letting us know of this sad passing

      • EweTaw

        Yeah. I meant that. Really, I did. Sorry for the typo. I’m in bed trying to type while lying on one side. Today is a stay in bed all morning day, because I just want to. 🙂

        • Ernest Endevor

          Any pictures? I’m asking for a friend.

          • EweTaw

            That would require me taking the little bit of duct tape off of the camera on my lap top’s screen. Too much work. 🙂

  • popebuck1

    “But… what about OUR right to inflict pointless cruelty on gay people? How will they know how much we disapprove of them?”

    • Gustav2

      “Bless their hearts.”

    • prixator

      No, no, no! They don’t disapprove of us LGBT people at all – only our “lifestyles”.

  • Tawreos

    Florida will wait for Gorsuch and appeal it.

    • Ninja0980

      Yup, just like with the “religious freedom” laws etc.

  • Blackfork

    Lovely. This is great.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Pam Bondi. :-/

    • Mark

      what ever happened to her pay to play with trump?

      • Xuuths

        Still wending through the wheels of justice, I believe.

      • She wouldn’t do him, probably.

        • olandp

          Hell, she’d do anybody.

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        Still looking for effective antibiotics. Until then, she is under wraps.

      • Homo Erectus

        Stick a fork in her – I think she’s done.

  • bkmn

    Long past due.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Hopefully there can also be legal recourse for those who have been affected by families of deceased partners coming in and claiming property and savings as theirs, leaving the surviving partner with nothing.

    • Ninja0980

      Yup, that happened again and again despite the bigots claiming wills and other stuff would prevent that.
      It very seldom did, especially if the judges hearing the case were bigoted too.

    • TexasBoy

      While it would be wonderful, you have to wonder…if the family spent it all up, or if the legal fees would be prohibitive.

  • SFBruce

    “But whatever its merits, it must give way to Obergefell’s constitutional command…And by refusing to readily re-issue death certificates, Florida is actively violating the surviving spouses’ constitutional rights.”

    Given the way a certain someone uses our language, it’s great to be reminded how beautiful a string of words can be.

    • EweTaw

      Hell, it’s simply refreshing to hear and see adverbs and adjectives formed correctly.

      • Todd20036

        Lolly! Lolly! Lolly! Get your adverbs here.

        • Donnavcochran

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj199d:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • EweTaw

    OT Breaking NEWS! Gwenith Paltrow has the poop on anal sex. All you need to know if you’re doing it right can be found at: http://goop.com/reality-check-anal-sex/

    Aren’t you glad I brought it up?

    • Tor

      I can’t imagine what Gwenith might know that I don’t already.

      • EweTaw

        I know, right? 😀

    • Todd20036

      I’ve a firewall in the office.

      • lymis

        Good. Nobody should be subjected to Gwyneth Paltrow at work.

    • Do you have to put jade dildos up your ass?

      • JCF

        Only if they’re blessed by the Dalai Lama.

  • That_Looks_Delicious
    • Treant

      It’s too bad we can’t hook generators up to all the spin that’s about to happen. We could power the nation for months.

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    Two steps forward, one step back.

    “In An Unprecedented No-Show, The U.S. Pulls Out Of Planned Human Rights Hearing”


    • That_Looks_Delicious

      Scheduling conflict. There must be a meeting with Russia that day.

  • leastyebejudged

    Florida collects so many bullshit fees left and right I wouldn’t consider this a victory unless you don’t have to pay a red cent.

  • lymis

    I don’t want to minimize the importance of this.

    But the part that really torques me is that once they finally recognized our marriage, and said that it had been unconstitutional not to recognize it in the first place, they told us that we could only refile three years of taxes, because that’s the statute of limitations. Three years federal, two years in our state.

    They didn’t – quite – say that if we had wanted to be able to refile more years than that, we would have had to file during each of those years at t the time, even though it would have been tax fraud under the law at the time.

  • The_Wretched

    Ask Gorsuch about this one. I think it’s clear the court got this ruling right. Gorsuch, however, strongly implied he’d go the other way on this.

  • John Masters

    We had to go to court over this too. Barbie Bondi is at it again.

  • JCF

    Does one have to have been legally married in some state to get this new Florida death certificate? Will a Canadian marriage work? A civil union or domestic partnership? How about a non-governmental “holy union” or some such?