At midnight on January 5th, gay marriage was legalized in the state of Florida making it the 36th state to legalize same sex marriage.
Many happy couples wasted no time in tying the knot, some in ceremonies held in the middle of the night. This decision comes as a pleasant surprise to many couples who have waited decades to get married or have gotten married in other states, and now know that their marriages will be recognized by their home state.
Unfortunately, in 2008, residents voted for an amendment that banned gay marriage in Florida. Florida, a mainly conservative state, voted to ban gay marriage with 62% percent voting to ban it. However, the ban was lifted in August 2014 after Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Federal District Court in Tallahassee ruled the ban unconstitutional. Miami-Dade was the first county to proceed, with Miami-Dade circuit judge Sarah Zabel marrying the first same-sex spouses in the state.
“I was really blown away [when the ban was lifted,]” Dr. Julie Hood, MAST Academy’s physics teacher said. “The momentum in the country convinced me it was going to happen but it was still a mind-blower. There have been so many obstacles and federal laws banning it. It’s pretty amazing. I haven’t had anyone say anything negative to me yet.” Hood said.
Hood and her girlfriend of 13 years, Marilyn Gran, wed on January 17th. The wedding was what Hood described as a “MAST-themed wedding,” as it occurred on one of Shake-a-Leg Miami’s boats and was officiated by math teacher Dana Yancoskie.
The whole MAST community supported Hood as she got married and her marriage post on Facebook got over 500 likes.
The lifting of this ban means that many men and women who didn’t have the opportunity to make their unions official in the eyes of the state will now be able to say that they are married.
Other advantages of being legally married include tax benefits and death benefits.
Florida is finially on the right side of the same-sex marriage issue, and this has allowed Florida to become a beacon of equality and freedom.
Although it is regrettable that Floridians once voted to ban gay marriage, the lifting of the ban means that our state has made progress in the fight for equality for all its citizens.
We hope that in the future, the 14 remaining states will protect the right of every citizen to get married, regardless of sexual orientation.