Florida is more scared of Islamic theocracy than anything else in the world, except maybe your Aunt Ethel in Boynton Beach. Fortunately, Florida has figured out how to neutralize both threats with a single proposed law.
The "Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases" bill aims to ensure that no activist judge in the Sunshine State will ever rule on a case using Muslim sharia law, what with its burqas and scimitars and probably clucking chickens in a mud-hut terrorist house-of-justice-and-beheadin'. Rather, all state courts would treat non-US laws as "void and unenforceable" if they violate a petitioner's constitutional rights.
Sounds awesome, right? It would prevent America from becoming home to whatever human-rights abuses that Muslim judges perform on Muslim defendants in Muslim countries. That will come in useful whenever someone successfully invokes sharia in a US court case, which will happen for the first time any day now, maybe.
Oh, also, it will make divorce effectively impossible for Orthodox Jewish women in Florida, according to the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, and National Council of Jewish Women.
At issue is the concept of the get, a Jewish divorce document that a man must grant to his wife when she seeks a separation. In Orthodox communities, where legal issues are settled by religious authorities, if the man refuses a divorce, his wife is up shmutz creek without a paddle.
That means Jewish law is gender-discriminatory—and the way the Florida bill is written, it would consequently bar state courts from recognizing Israeli or other Jewish divorce agreements, ADL lawyer David Barkey told the Palm Beach Times:
“This legislation … could undermine Florida’s strong reputation and track record as a center for trade with Israel and other nations” and “serve as an incentive for them to take their business elsewhere,” Barkey said.
And the bill could have a chilling effect on Israeli nationals and dual citizens already living in Florida, NCJW Vice President of Advocacy Linda Geller Schwartz, who lives in Boca Raton, said.
“The message being given to the Jewish population and other minorities is a very unwelcoming one,” she said.
But hey, you want to make a culturally homogenous omelette, you gotta crack some multi-ethnic huevos. The bill cleared Florida's House 79-39 and is expected to sail through the Senate to Gov. Rick Scott's desk shortly. And its sponsors are riding mighty high.
"With the increasing internationalization of the economy, it’s more likely people coming here are going to have legal agreements and decrees from their native countries and they’re going to want to have those enforced in Florida courts," says bill cosponsor Larry Metz, a Republican from some town called Yalaha, which is nothing at all like a foreign place, except maybe to the 89 percent of Floridians who live in cities, Jews and Muslims included.