A county judge in the Florida Keys ruled today that same-sex couples could marry in his jurisdiction starting next week. Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia agreed with plaintiffs who argued Florida’s voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman treats gay couples as second-class citizens. Florida voters approved the ban on same-sex marriage in 2008. Attorney General Pam Bondi said the state of Florida, as opposed to individual counties, has sole authority to define marriage in the state.
The Florida ruling puts couples in the Keys in a similar position to those in parts of Colorado, where a county clerks have been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples despite an in-place state ban on same-sex marriage. Colorado differs slightly because a federal judge there has already ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and stayed the ruling pending appeal.