This week began with exciting news on the marriage equality front. On Monday, after a judge lifted the stay on the ruling declaring Florida’s anti-gay marriage ban unconstitutional, same-sex couples were permitted to marry in Florida, effective Tuesday, January 6. (Finally!)
Last week, Equality Florida Institute and six same-sex couples asked Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel to remove the stay, thereby allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. After she agreed to do so, Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin stated that marriages could begin immediately after the ruling took effect. At 12:01 a.m., all county clerks were instructed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
At midnight on Tuesday, couples began lining up to receive their marriage licenses. Karla Arguello and Cathy Pareto, co-plaintiffs in the case, were the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in the state of Florida.
In response to Judge Zabel’s decision, Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, released the following statement: “This is a monumental day in Florida’s history. Loving same-sex couples have been waiting months, years, decades for the right to marry the person they love. And we’re excited to be able to share this moment with the brave plaintiff couples who plan on getting married today.”
According to research conducted by Williams Institute, there are approximately 48,500 cohabiting same-sex couples in the Sunshine State, whose lives will be positively impacted by marriage equality.