Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that the state must issue accurate death certificates to all surviving same-sex spouses.
This is a victory for Lambda Legal clients Hal Birchfield and Paul Mocko, two gay widowers, and all other surviving same-sex spouses who were denied accurate death certificates for their deceased spouses that acknowledge they were married and recognize them as the surviving spouses.
“We are thrilled that the Court has put an end to the way the State of Florida was erasing whole lives spent together when it refused to issue corrected death certificates recognizing married same-sex couples unless the surviving spouse obtained a court order," said Karen Loewy, Counsel for Lambda Legal. "Hal and Paul and other Florida widows and widowers like them suffered at the hands of the state all because their spouses died before the state’s marriage ban was struck down.”
“These surviving same-sex spouses should never have been forced to bear the burden of the state’s discrimination, but that discrimination ends today," added Loewy. "Hal, Paul and other surviving same-sex spouses in Florida can’t get their loved ones back, but now all Florida surviving same-sex spouses will have the respect and dignity of accurate death certificates that recognize their relationships.”