The Florida State Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging a Broward County ordinance enacted in 1999 that allows unmarried partners to receive some of the same benefits as married partners. Under the ordinance, same-sex and heterosexual unmarried couples can name their partners to make health care decisions and serve as their guardians if they are disabled. The ordinance also allows unmarried partners to receive health insurance under their partners’ employee benefits plans. The conservative Northstar Legal Center tried to argue that the ordinance violated Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Northstar says it will not appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
According to Equality Florida, a state LGBT advocacy group, Florida has a mixed record on gay rights. The state has a hate crimes law that covers sexual orientation and no sodomy law, but it is the only state in the U.S. with an anti-LGBT adoption statute in place, and recently failed to pass a statewide domestic partnership bill.