Florida same-sex marriage ban declared unconstitutional in fourth ruling

TAMPA Fla. Wed Aug 6, 2014 5:35am EDT

Robert O'Rourke, 65, (L) and Rick Nelson Flor, 53, prepare to get married in West Hollywood, California, July 1, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Robert O'Rourke, 65, (L) and Rick Nelson Flor, 53, prepare to get married in West Hollywood, California, July 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) - A south Florida judge on Tuesday became the fourth in recent weeks to strike down the state's same-sex marriage ban, in a case involving the estate of a gay man who owned property in Florida.

Frank Bangor, who lived in Pennsylvania before his death in March, left his estate to the man that he married in Delaware. This included property in south Florida's Palm Beach County.

In finding the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis limited her ruling to the specific circumstances involved in the probate case.

The ruling did not include an order for Palm Beach County officials to begin issuing marriage licenses, according to Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy organization.

Since July, three other state court rulings have also rejected the same-sex marriage prohibition approved by Florida voters in 2008. Those cases have been stayed pending appeals.

(This story has been corrected to fix time frame in paragraph five - since July, instead of since late June)

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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