Florida was dragged into the 21st century by a court order on Monday that lifted the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
The state’s gay-marriage ban has been officially ruled unconstitutional, making Florida the 36th most gay-tolerant state. Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage has now ended in all 67 counties, going into effect at the stroke of midnight Monday.
But some couples couldn’t even wait until then. Just a few hours after U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle lifted the stay overthrowing a same-sex marriage ban in Florida, couples began tying the knot in Miami-Dade County before the ruling was even effective. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel found no need to wait until the statewide ban expired and presided over Florida’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages Monday afternoon. The first two pairs to get married were part of the original six-couple lawsuit last January that ended in the ban’s dismissal.
Even former Florida governor Jeb Bush is coming around on the same-sex marriage issue – albeit slowly. Bush, a long time same-sex marriage opponent who is currently flirting with a 2016 presidential run, signaled an increasing openness to same-sex marriage saying that “regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law.”
“I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue—including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty,” Bush said in response to his state overturning a ban on same-sex marriage.
Huh. Well that’s not exactly a marriage equality endorsement, but it’s Jeb Bush so we’ll take what we can get.