Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In Miami-Dade County
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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - Same-sex couples in Miami-Dade County don't have to wait any longer to get married.
Judge Sarah Zabel has lifted U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's stay, making gay marriage legal on the spot. The county's Clerk of Court can immediately start issuing marriage licenses.
Not everyone is supportive of ending the ban on same sex marriage in the state.
"The Catholic bishops of Florida are deeply disappointed by Judge Hinkle's ruling, as well as refusals by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States to stay the decision while appeals pend," according to a statement from the Catholic Bishops of Florida. "How society understands marriage has great public significance. Because of this, redefining civil "marriage" to include two persons of the same sex will have far-reaching consequences in society. Such a change advances the notion that marriage is only about the affective gratification of consenting adults. Such a redefinition of marriage does nothing to safeguard a child's right to a mother and father and to be raised in a stable family where his or her development and well-being is served to the greatest extent possible."
The countdown is still on for the rest of the state, but that will come to an end in less than 24 hours – making same-sex marriage legal throughout Florida.
"I think it's very exciting and it's about time," said Jeff Gapinksi with Georgie's Alibi.
"I think it's a great thing to have that family value and have the same recognized equal rights as everyone else," said Derrick Pope.
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Judge Hinkle used a lawsuit, filed on behalf of two north Florida same-sex couples, as the basis for his August 21st ruling that the state's same-sex marriage ban — overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2008 — was unconstitutional. Hinkle stayed his ruling until Tuesday, January 6th.
On New Year's Day, clarified his ruling after attorneys representing an association of county clerks claimed the ruling only applies to the specific couples mentioned in the lawsuit. Hinkle said the ruling applied to all 67 Florida counties.
The decision paved the way for couples like Todd and Jeff Delmay to have the wedding they've dreamed of for more than a decade.
"Let families like ours be families," said Delmay.
The Delmays are one of six couples who sued the county for the right to legally marry and won.
Some couples already have their paperwork ready to go and plan to make their union legal as soon as possible.
"Because history has shown that sometimes marriage is legal one day and maybe not legal the next day in some states, I wanted to be there to make sure that we did it while the window was opened in case the window closed," said Michelle Gaber.
Marriage equality is a big win for same-sex couples, but the fight for equal rights continues.
"Right now in the state of Florida, if you're lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you can still lose your job for simply being who you are," Tony Lima with Save Dade explained. "You can be denied services. You can be denied housing."
Lima was in the courtroom when the stay was lifted.
"It was really a tear-fest. I was lucky enough to walk into the courtroom just seconds before Judge Zabel lifted the stay. It was just so much emotion," Lima told CBS4's Lauren Pastrana.
For more information about same-sex licenses in Miami-Dade County, click here.
Tuesday night, at Botanical Garden on Miami Beach, hundreds of married same-sex couples will renew their vows.
On January 10th at 10:00 a.m., a massive ceremony will be held at Unity on the Bay in Miami for all same-sex couples. Private ceremonies will also be held after 2:00 p.m.
For those who would like to be a part of this event you can register at www.unityonthebay.org.
In Broward County, the clerk's office will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses and performing same-sex marriages at the Central Courthouse beginning January 6 at 12:01 a.m.
Tuesday morning, a group wedding will take place at the Central Courthouse in Broward County.
For more information about same-sex licenses in Broward County, click here.
For more information about same-sex licenses in Monroe County, click here.
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