same-sex marriage

Florida's court clerks are going to start using new marriage and divorce forms that no longer use the words "husband" and "wife."

WUSF

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage, some Florida clergy members and lawmakers are mobilizing to ensure legal exemptions for religious organizations.

On July 1st, Chris Walker, a pastor at the Cathedral of Power International Church in Clermont, launched a petition on Change.org calling for Governor Rick Scott to sign a "Pastor Protection Act" into law. The petition has garnered over 22,000 signatures.

More Gay And Lesbian Couples Set To Adopt

Jul 3, 2015
Graphic by Kenny Malone

With the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st, a spate of laws is now in place in Florida. Among the many changes that went into effect was the repeal of a nearly four-decade-old ban on adoption by gay parents.

Gay and lesbian couples in Florida have legally been able to adopt since 2010, when an appeals court ruled that a 1977 ban on doing so was unconstitutional. But advocates worried that a court ruling wasn’t enough—so they took it to the legislature. The House and Senate passed a bill in April, and the governor signed it in June.
 

Creative Commons via Flickr / Jeff Cubina (https://flic.kr/p/tbJue)

In a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court says all states must provide marriage licenses between two people of the same sex, and all states must recognize same-sex marriages.

Florida has allowed same-sex marriages since January. But what happens now for the politicians in Florida who have opposed same-sex marriage, such as Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi? Will this be an issue in presidential campaigns?

States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in the case, wrote the majority opinion. All four justices who voted against the ruling wrote their own dissenting opinions: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

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.

Same-sex marriage gets a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court this April, and in Florida, the Attorney General is making a familiar argument against a piecemeal approach. 

Florida began issuing same-sex marriage licenses at the beginning of this month.  At the time, officials argued the federal ruling throwing out the state’s marriage ban was narrow and only applied to the couples named in the case.  Wednesday Attorney General Pam Bondi argued the greatest harm is lack of consistency.

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.

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.

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