Up Close: Nancy K. Brodzki

Nancy K. Brodzki, Marital and Family Law Attorney, including LGBTQ Family Law

(Featured in Lifestyle Magazine)

The back story: The founding partner of Coral Springs-based Brodzki Jacobs & Brook (and proud University of Miami graduate, as evidenced by “The U” gesture in her photo) is one of the state’s recognized authorities when it comes to LGBTQ family law. Brodzki made headlines in that arena when she represented a woman who married a woman in Vermont—but needed a divorce in Florida. Her legal strategy was to challenge Florida’s constitutional ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries. Judge Dale Cohen declared the ban unconstitutional on Aug. 14, 2014, and granted the divorce that December—only weeks before same-sex marriage became Florida law on Jan. 6, 2015. Brodzki, who was married to a man for more than two decades and had four children, is a board member of SAVE, Florida’s oldest LGBTQ rights organization. While Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties have laws to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination, statewide protections do not exist.

Legal complexities in Florida: “You can be fired, right now, for being gay in Florida. Let’s say I’m working somewhere else [other than Broward County] and I get fired for being gay. … You can bet that my employer is going to seek protection from the state. If I’m in a county that doesn’t offer protections, and this goes to court, there’s no telling what an appellate court in the Panhandle up in the First District—or what the Florida Supreme Court—might do.”

A wedding story: “I represented somebody in an [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] complaint in Tampa who was denied a wedding venue. The brides are lesbians. [The female employee said] ‘I can’t even give you a tour. We don’t do gay weddings.’”

• “The owners settled with the administrative judge and agreed to close the venue. And then they reopened it under a different name.”

Cake Baking 101: “It’s still legal [under state law] to discriminate and say: ‘I don’t want to bake a cake for you, because you’re gay … I’m not delivering it to your wedding.’”

“You can think of all kinds of cakes where you’re [a] baker and you say, ‘I won’t bake a Nazi message cake.’ Or if you’re a prude, ‘I won’t make a vagina or penis cake because that offends me.’ OK, freedom of artistic expression. But if you bake ‘Floral Cake No. 7,’ it shouldn’t matter who it is that wants to buy it—or what kind of ceremony they want to use it [for].”

• “But in Florida, don’t bet on it. [There’s] no law that prohibits it. What we do have is a patchwork of laws in municipalities and counties—in the more progressive areas of the state—that ban these practices.”

Nancy’s personal journey: “If you ask me how I identified back in the 1970s and ’80s, we didn’t really even use these terms. But I was clearly bisexual in my actions, and I fell in love with a man [in college]. We were married 23 years and had four children.”

• “My sexuality was not an issue in my marriage. We were going in different directions. When I got divorced, I made this decision: ‘I haven’t dated in 27 years. I think I’ll date a woman and see how that goes.’ Having had short-term relationships with other women in my late adolescence and before I was married, I pretty much decided I was done with men.”

• “I happened to meet the love of my life on the same day my divorce was final [June 27, 2005]. We were married July 12, 2007, in Toronto.”

Her transgender daughter: “In high school, [her now-23-year-old child] presented as a man, used male pronouns and used the male bathrooms. She’s been fortunate because she was working at this job before she transitioned, and as she’s transitioned, she’s had no problems. She has not experienced any overt discrimination. That is definitely not everyone’s trans experience.

• “There are cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding trans people who have been fired from their workplace for not being gender compliant.”

January 2015: “We were all in the courthouse the night of Jan. 5 [the day before same-sex marriage was legal]. [The clerk of the court] opened the courthouse at 10 o’clock, and they had judges to help officiate and clerks there to process marriage licenses.”

• “[A few weeks later], we had the first same-sex wedding at Temple Beth Am in Margate, officiated by our rabbi [Paul Plotkin]. I was very proud of him for that.”

Dealing with disapproval: “We were recently on a cruise. I literally gave my wife a peck on the lips, like you’d give a peck to your sister. [A woman] said, ‘I could have lived my life without seeing that.’ ”

• “I’m not someone who would do something inappropriate in public. My wife would never allow that. But … this upsets you? I can only imagine what other things I could do that would upset you even more.”