Florida judge strikes down gay marriage ban in Monroe County, but couples must wait until Tuesday

By Kyle Johnson,

A judge who has jurisdiction over the Florida Keys struck down the 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban on Thursday. However, same-sex couples shouldn't rush down to the Monroe County clerk's office just yet.

Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia noted in his decision that they can begin issuing marriage licenses on Tuesday, according to the Miami Herald. The delay was "in consideration of... anticipated rise in activity."

The judge ruled in favor of two Key West bartenders who wished to be married and noted that despite the majority in 2008 wishing to ban gay marriage, "it is our country's proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority."

Bartenders Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones were happy with the ruling.

"I can't believe it finally happened," Jones said. "Love is love. It doesn't matter if it's a guy and woman or two women or two men. Love is love."

Reuters notes that Garcia does not have jurisdiction over the entire state, but rather Monroe County. A similar case is also before a Miami-Dade County judge.

It isn't known whether Florida plans on filing an appeal to the ruling and conservative Florida Family Policy Council group president John Stemberger said the outcome was expected, but decried the ruling anyway, calling it an "entirely illegitimate process."

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