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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in Florida
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Catherine Pareto and Karla Arguello shortly after their wedding ceremony.

Summary: Florida is the 36th state to legalize gay marriage in the United States.

According to The Week, Florida is the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage. On Monday evening, Catherine Pareto and Karla Arguello were the first same-sex couple to become legally married in the state. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel presided over the ceremony in her Miami courtroom.

  
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Pareto said, “It’s been a long time coming. Finally, Florida recognizes us as a couple. It’s just—I don’t know, sweet justice.”

On midnight Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a ruling stating that gay marriage was legal throughout the state of Florida, and many courthouses were open to conduct wedding ceremonies for the patient couples. Now, 36 of the states, comprising 70 percent of the population of the United States, allow same-sex marriage.

Just a few days ago, clerks in Florida were told to begin issuing marriage licenses.

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Of course, many were not happy with the ruling. Florida Secretary of State Pam Bondi (R) issued a statement saying, “The judge has ruled, and we wish these couples the best.” Some counties, such as the Duval county clerk in Jacksonville, are refusing to conduct any marriages in the courthouse, regardless of whether they are same-sex weddings, and at least two other counties have issued the same restriction. However, all counties are providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

According to USA Today, Bondi is pursuing both state and federal appeals to uphold Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, which was enacted in 2008, but her attempts to have same-sex weddings blocked until courts rule on the issue were denied by the United States Supreme Court.



In August, Florida’s ban was struck down by a judge.

In Lee County, where Fort Myers is located, Daniel Perono and Chance Chadwick were the first same-sex couple to wed in the county, and had their ceremony shortly before 8 a.m. They were thrilled. “We didn’t know who looked better in a gown,” they laughed. The officiant said, “I now pronounce you married partners…you may now kiss your spouse.”

Lisa Brinhall and Susan Amann were next. They are still shocked that they are married, and to celebrate, are planning a trip to Disney World.

Should there be a federal ruling on the same-sex marriage issue?

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As of Tuesday morning, about six couples were married in Pensacola at the Escambia County Courthouse.

In October, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the review of appeals on same-sex marriage issues.

Many couples say being married is about more than tender feelings. They argue that marriage is a basic human right. Jerald Mitchell said that, although he had been with his partner for 23 years, he did not have the right to even visit him in the hospital. Now, they can finally share insurance and benefits. “I don’t have to worry about what happens if I die or he dies,” he explained.

Photo credit: macon.com



 

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