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Florida Same-Sex Marriages Happen One Day Early

Same-sex couples in Miami were the first in the state to celebrate marriages after Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel lifted her stay Monday.
Adam Lederer via Flickr

A South Florida Judge cleared the way Monday for same-sex marriages to go forward in Miami-Dade County.  The decision comes just ahead of an expiring stay allowing same-sex marriages across the state.

Same-sex marriage activists have long had January 6 circled with a big red marker on their calendars.  That’s because a stay halting a federal ruling against Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was set to expire at midnight on January 5.  But Monday, state circuit judge Sarah Zabel pushed the timeline forward.

She lifted a stay on her own ruling against the state’s marriage restrictions, allowing same-sex marriages in Miami-Dade County to go forward immediately. 

But couples in other counties won’t have to wait very long to tie their own knots.  Leon County Clerk Bob Inzer says originally there was confusion about the federal ruling handed down by Judge Robert Hinkle, so he and other clerks asked for clarification.

“On the 31,” Inzer says, “he basically said that clerks may issue licenses state wide for same-sex marriages, and Leon County will be complying and issuing those licenses.”

Leon County won’t be joining other counties holding midnight wedding ceremonies, but at 8 in the morning on Tuesday, they’ll be open for business—for everyone.