gay marriage

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. 


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.


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.

Christine DiMattei

In downtown Delray Beach Monday night, same-sex couples who gathered to get hitched in a group wedding were greeted by balloons, flowers and dancing in the streets.

The doors of the South County Courthouse opened at 10:30 p.m. so marriage licenses could be processed before the ceremony. By then, dozens of couples were lined up outside, and a few started slow-dancing on the sidewalk after someone docked an iPod to a speaker.

Shortly after midnight, about 80 couples exchanged vows in a civil ceremony presided over by County Clerk Sharon Bock.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Robert Collier and Charles Hunziger have been together for 52 years.

They are one of nine same sex couples who sued Florida to recognize their marriages in a federal case that ultimately struck down the state’s gay marriage ban Tuesday.

Collier and Hunziger say they never meant to become gay activists, to be plaintiffs in a lawsuit that would change Florida law. But as they started getting older, they started thinking about how they wanted to leave things better than they were for them.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County will become the first place in Florida to allow same-sex couples to marry on Monday, 10 hours before a gay-marriage ban that has been ruled unconstitutional is lifted in the rest of the state.

In an 11 a.m. hearing, Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel lifted the legal stay she had placed on her sweeping July decision declaring the ban discriminatory.

“In the big picture, does it really matter whether or not I lift the stay or leave it until tomorrow?” she said from the bench. “I’m lifting the stay.”