First Coast LGBT groups celebrate marriage ruling

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- LGBT groups on the First Coast are celebrating a Monroe County Judge's decision to overturn Florida's ban on same-sex marriage.

Last October Scott Masson and Stephen Prophet left Jacksonville and traveled over 1,000 miles to get married in Connecticut. The couple had been together for four years and wanted to get hitched on their anniversary, but had no chance of getting wed in Florida.

"It was sort of a frustrating decision for us because we would rather pay florists, and caterers, and everything here in Florida but instead we had to give our money to Connecticut in order to get legally married," said Masson.

Now that has changed, in the Florida Keys at least. A Monroe County Circuit Judge overturned Florida's ban on same-sex marriage. A press release from The Human Rights Campaign says Judge Luis Garcia wrote, "This court concludes that a citizen's right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual."

"Now, the fact that our friends can get legally married in the state and that we are recognized as a married couple is huge for us," said Masson.

This ruling is giving Equality Florida confidence while the group waits for the ruling of a similar law suit in Miami-Dade County.

"We're waiting to hear the ruling from the Judge, Judge Zabel, so I'm pretty sure this is going to help, I think, in that direction," said Jessica Osborn, Statewide Field Manager, Equality Florida.

Day of Decision celebrations were held across the state and at an Avondale restaurant dozens gathered to spread the good news.

"This has been an exciting, actually several weeks for us, we've had some success in Neptune Beach. Just this week we had incredible momentum in Atlantic Beach and I think what this means is that Jacksonville, we need to quickly swiftly, pass a Human Rights Ordinance," said Chevara Orrin, Founder and co-creator, 'We Are Straight Allies' national media campaign.

The LGBT community is embracing the support. Masson and Prophet say they already have friends planning a trip to Monroe County.

"We also have friends that know this is going to open that door and they're just waiting to get married," added Masson.

Same-sex couples will get to start obtaining marriage licenses in Monroe County on Tuesday unless a stay is requested by the State Attorney General and granted by the Florida Supreme Court.

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist released a statement saying: "Today was a great step towards equality in Florida. It is my hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will accept the decision of the judge and allow all Florida adults to marry the person they love."

According to The Human Rights Campaign, there are over 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 30 of the 31 states where such a ban exists, plus Puerto Rico.


Ruling allows same-sex marriages for Florida Keys

Human Rights Ordinance clears hurdle in Atlantic Beach

Sides square off on Fla. gay marriage ban

Burger King sells gay pride Whopper

Neptune Beach to put non-discrimination resolution on hold

Jacksonville attorneys fight Fla. same-sex marriage law


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment