Sun-Sentinel report: South Florida Same-Sex Couples Wed, But Not in the Sunshine State

On December 18, the Sun-Sentinel reported that despite Florida’s laws banning same-sex marriage, many gay Florida couples are opting to get married in states that recognize their unions.

According to the report, the U.S Census Bureau estimates that out of a total 65,601 same-sex couples in Florida who cohabitate, 32% are self-identified as being married.

Same-sex couples in Florida continue to face numerous restrictions not experienced by heterosexual married partners. As the Sun-Sentinel notes, in the absence of legal standing and without specific written instructions to the contrary, it remains at the discretion of hospitals to decide if same-sex married partners can make decisions in life-and-death situations.

A number of municipalities, including Broward and Palm Beach counties, offer more benefits to same-sex couples who register as domestic partners. And state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, and Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, have introduced domestic partnership legislation which would permit gay couples to enjoy some of the same benefits as straight married couples.

The Sun-Sentinel also reported on a recent Gallup poll which shows that 53% of Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal. That number represents a drastic shift in opinion from 1996, when two-thirds of Americans opposed legalizing same-sex marriages.