Monroe Circuit Judge Luis Garcia declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Thursday afternoon. He ruled in favor of Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, a same-sex couple seeking to marry -- but they will only be allowed to do so after Tuesday, July 22.
Later on Thursday afternoon, the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal against Judge Garcia's decision.
The judge compared the gay-marriage ban to earlier laws that prevented women from voting, banned interracial marriages and imprisoned Japanese Americans during World War II.
You can’t just tear down a house in Key West’s Historic District. Even if it’s in pretty bad shape. That’s why people were so surprised when the city -- which normally enforces the preservation rules -- came up with a list of five houses in Old Town that could be torn down.
One of those houses “looks like it’s sitting on limestone piers which are not anchored on anything , so the building’s sitting here unsecured,” says Ron Wampler, the city’s chief building official.
In 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. In recent months, gay couples wishing to marry have challenged that provision in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Today on Plantation Key, a Monroe Circuit judge heard arguments in a case brought by two Key West men. Aaron Huntsman and William Jones have been together for 11 years and had a commitment ceremony 10 years ago. But Huntsman said they want to make it official.
(Note: Mark Hedden's wife is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar.)
David Kaufelt died Saturday at home in Key West.
He and his wife Lynn arrived from New York four decades ago. David was a writer and wanted to be surrounded by more writers. Several others already made the island their home, but Kaufelt had an idea to make Key West into a true literary destination, not just for people interested in the legacies of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, but for living, breathing writers too.
Sandra Ramos has never wanted to emigrate from Cuba, but in her more than four decades on the island, she has seen many people leave.
Their absence resonates throughout her work. The image of her as a 10-year-old is plastered behind a wall of palm trees, trapped on the island. In another piece, her school girl's body lies across a gaping space in the middle of a bridge, trying to connect two separate lands.
"It's a perspective on immigration from those who stay," Ramos said.
Over the last year, the small, two-house compound in Old Town Key West where John Martini lives has been robbed at least four times.
“We've kind of lost count, as a matter of fact,” he said. “The first time or two, maybe he hit us and we didn't even know ... because he only stole cash, and he stole it out of our wallets and put our wallets back in the same place.”
Once Martini realized they were being robbed, he installed locks on his doors, something he hadn't done since he moved in in 1978. When the compound was robbed again, they installed a security-camera system.
You might not have time to sift through a week's worth of public-radio color in the form of feature stories and curated audience commentary. So we've rounded up the best of WLRN's content this week in an easily digestible feed, all for your viewing convenience.
Click on the stories to read their full versions, or plug in your headphones and listen in right from this page.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:00 pm
Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.
Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by WLRN contributor Mark Hedden.
An estimated 8,000 zombies invaded Key West the night of Oct. 20, pedaling on bicycles across the Cow Key Bridge and muttering about brains. But the takeover was not unexpected and had a police escort.
The Monroe County Public Library recently received a donation of more than 15,000 photographs from the early days of Key West. The remarkable gift includes documents and memorabilia illustrating the island’s history with images few had seen before.
Keep reading for a look into Key West before the Parrotheads took over.
"She freaking made it." That's what the note posted at 3:14 p.m. to the Google map on her website, where Diana Nyad's journey had been tracked in yellow dots and time stamps, said. Thirty-five years after her first attempt, Nyad did it -- she reached the shores of Smathers Beach in Key West Monday, after pushing off from Havana on Saturday. This was her fifth try, and her fourth in three years.
The 64-year-old swam 111 miles and now holds the world record for swimming the farthest without a shark cage.