Will Florida Bar Jewish Divorce?

Starting Wednesday, the Florida Senate can vote on a measure to ban Sharia law in the state. But in an unintended consequence, the measure would also ban traditional Orthodox Jewish divorces from being recognized.

The bill, which has already been passed in the state House, bans "foreign law" in Florida family courts. According to The Florida Independent, the state representative pushing the measure has argued it's necessary to "stop the spread of Sharia law." There's no evidence of a spread. But among those who shmear, the bill also has some serious implications. Orthodox Jews rely on rabbinic "Beit Dins" to grant divorces, and under this measure, such divorce decrees would not be recognized. Ironically, while insulting Muslim Floridians, the bill would have a policy impact on the state's Jewish community. Both the regional Anti-Defamation League and the Council on American-Islamic Relations have condemned the measure. 

The Senate panel considering the bill dealt the concerns of both Muslim and Jewish communities in a rather innovative way—the panel didn't let them speak and instead just passed the measure. A damning story from The Sun Sentinel detailed the scene last week:

Ignoring about 50 people who wanted to testify—and with a total of three minutes of deliberation—a Senate panel Tuesday slammed through a measure that both Muslims and Jews say is discriminatory and would prohibit them from freely practicing their religion.

[N]either representatives from the ADL nor about 50 Muslims who were visiting Tallahassee as part of Muslim Day at the capital were allowed to speak at the meeting, which had more than 20 bills on the agenda and started late.

Yesterday, I wrote about Florida's parent trigger bill, where parents were similarly refused a chance to speak at three different hearings.

Louisiana, Arizona, and Tennessee have already passed similar measures. Of course, I'm guessing the Jewish grandparent vote isn't quite as high there.

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