gay marriage

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Same-sex marriage is now legal in three dozen states, including Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court may issue a landmark ruling soon that will impact the rest of the country.

Florida’s voter-approved 2008 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was struck down by federal Judge Robert Hinkle as unconstitutional.

law.fsu.edu

Florida’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was passed by 62 percent of voters in 2008. But various lower court rulings last year found the ban to be unconstitutional, and federal judge Robert Hinkle agreed.

Now, same sex couples can marry in Florida, but four states have gay marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tom Hudson

After the big emotions of the wedding day come the economics of marriage: insurance, taxes, wills, bank accounts, property titles, credit card accounts, etcetera. 

Thousands of gay Floridians have gotten married since January 6, when their unions became legal in the state. Thousands more are now recognized as married if they wed in a place that allowed gay marriage prior to Florida's ban on same-sex marriages being overturned by a federal judge.

Florida Roundup: Marriages And Revisiting Haiti

Jan 9, 2015
Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

On the Florida Roundup, we discuss the important news of the week with the area's journalists. 

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

This week same-sex couples across Florida were able to get a marriage license, the same time the Supreme Court may decide the issue for the entire nation or continue to leave it on a state-by-state basis.

RICK SCOTT'S SECOND TERM

Mark Hedden / WLRN

Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, gay marriage became legal in Florida. But the first marriages started in Miami-Dade County about twelve hours earlier.

It was about 11:30 in the morning. Judge Sarah Zabel held a hearing and decided there was no need to wait. She lifted the stay on her ruling declaring Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

And gay couples could start getting married right away.

Our reporter John O'Connor was at the courthouse. And we had people at courthouses in Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, too.

Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

As soon as same-sex marriage became legal in Florida, the Keys tourism council was on LGBT websites and blogs advertising the islands as a wedding destination.

“The Florida Keys has long been a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons,” said Harold Wheeler, director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. He’s hoping the same will apply for same-sex couples.

John O'Connor / WRLN

The counter on the wall of Miami-Dade County's marriage license office says 59. Deborah Shure and Aymarah Robles hold number 60.

Robles says they’ve been waiting 15 years to be able to marry each other. Minutes before, a Miami-Dade judge said same-sex couples could get marriage licenses.

“And I’m still crying and I don’t think it’s going to stop today," Robles says.

Shure and Robles ducked out after the verdict to grab an early spot in line. Dozens of couples followed.

About an hour later, their wait was over.

Rick Stone / WLRN

  In Fort Lauderdale, about 100 couples were issued legal marriage licenses starting at a minute after midnight. Some will have to endure the state's three-day waiting period before they can marry. But 30 or 40 same-sex pairs who qualified for waivers stayed behind to take their vows in a mass ceremony.

The first couple in line was the first to be married. Melissa Keller and Joanne Stiger got the special treatment of a ceremony in the court clerk's chapel with County Judge Kathleen McHugh officiating.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Carol Tedesco / Florida Keys News Service

At 12:18 a.m. Tuesday, the two men who won the first ruling overturning Florida's ban on gay marriage became the first gay couple to get married in Monroe County.

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones exchanged vows in front of 500 people — including close friends, attorneys, total strangers, TV crews and a few tourists.

The Rev. Steve Torrance, a chaplain with the Key West Police Department and minister with the Metropolitan Community Church declared them legally married, and the couple was greeted with cheers, applause and the sound of a conch shell.

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