For gay and lesbian couples in Florida, the battle for the legal recognition of their family relationships has often been a slow one, marked by gradual legal advances. This spring, some same-sex couples scored another victory when a federal court judge issued a ruling that appears to have hastened the process of getting both parents’ names on the birth certificates of their children.
Of course, the path to arriving at this point in Florida has been a complicated one, with the cause of same-sex marriage having been advanced by a wide array of different people. While most people associate the cause of same-sex marriage with unmarried Floridians who desired to marry their partners, the issue was actually broader than that. Many of the people who brought challenges in court seeking to overturn Florida’s ban were actually couples desiring a divorce. One such couple was Mariama Changamire Shaw and her wife, Keiba Shaw. The women married in Massachusetts in 2010 and then moved to Tampa. The women sought an uncontested divorce in 2013, but the trial court in Tampa ruled that Florida courts could not dissolve a marriage that, under Florida law, never validly existed in the first place.