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Florida Supreme Court Declines to Take on Same-Sex Marriage Issue

The now well-known Shaw v. Shaw case has been moving through the court system this year, as Florida's Supreme Court sends it back to the appeals court that originally moved it to the state's highest court.

Mariama and Keiba Shaw were married in Massachusetts, but when the same-sex couple, now living in Tampa, filed a petition for divorce in the spring of this year, they faced a problem similar couples hoping to divorce have found themselves facing in Florida. The state does not recognize same-sex marriages, even if considered valid in other states, and thus will not grant the dissolution of the marriage.

Earlier this month, the Second District Court of Appeals passed the case up to the Florida Supreme Court without hearing it, a move known as pass-through jurisdiction. This move was on the grounds that the case represents a matter of significant public importance, and that its outcome will determine whether justice is properly administered in the future.

Judge Chris Altenbernd of the appeals court, however, disagreed that the case was eligible for pass-through jurisdiction, arguing that it only represents the question of whether Florida will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and not of whether Florida would perform its own same-sex marriages.

This could be a significant development in a movement that has seen many setbacks in Florida. Currently, a number of same-sex couples are suing the state to gain recognition of their marriages, their right to marry and the right to represent the estates of their deceased spouses. Several state judges have declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

For more information on the present state of same-sex marriage and divorce in Florida and how the law changes as new developments occur, speak with a knowledgeable Orlando family law attorney.

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