08/04/2014 02:41 pm ET Updated Aug 04, 2014

Florida Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban As Unconstitutional

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A Broward County judge ruled Florida's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Monday.

Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen issued the decision. Cohen is the third Florida circuit court judge in less than three weeks to strike down the state's ban.

"To discriminate based on sexual orientation, to deny families equality, to stigmatize children and spouses, to hold some couples less worthy of legal benefits than others based on their sexual orientation is against all that this country holds dear, as it denies equal citizenship," Cohen wrote in his decision. "Marriage is a well recognized fundamental right, all people should be entitled to enjoy its benefits."

The case was brought up when Heather Brassner, a woman involved in a civil union issued in Vermont in 2002, wanted to divorce her partner.

Brassner and her partner, Megan Lade, have been separated for about four years. According to Brassner, Lade cheated on her and disappeared soon after. Brassner had hoped to file for a divorce in absentia, but was unable to dissolve the union because the state of Florida didn't recognize it.

"It's what I was hoping to happen," Brassner said of the ruling, according to the Sun Sentinel. "Now, we get ready for the appeal, I guess."

Her attorney, Nancy Brodzki, said they expect the process is "going to take time," as Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi has already appealed the two previous rulings striking down the gay marriage ban in the state.

"We are confident that the Florida Supreme Court, when it finally gets to rule in this case, is going to rule in exactly the same way that Judge Cohen ruled," Brodzki said.



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