Florida judge gives go-ahead for gay marriage in one county

A state circuit court judge in Florida on Thursday overruled the state's ban on gay marriage, allowing same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in one county as soon as next week, according to reports

Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia delayed the decision until next Tuesday in order to give the county clerk time to prepare for the change.

ADVERTISEMENT
The ruling only applies to the single southern county of Monroe, according to reports, which includes the Florida Keys.

The state could appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. 

A number of other gay marriage challenges are making their way through state and federal courts in Florida as well. In 2008, Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage with more than 60 percent of the vote. 

The decision Thursday mirrors many around the country. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. A number of other state bans have been struck down as unconstitutional this year but have been stayed pending appeal. 

Gay marriage advocates have a perfect record in rulings since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act last year. Many expect the issue to be taken up again by the Supreme Court. 

Utah recently announced it is planning to appeal a ruling striking down its ban to the high court. The move comes after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that Utah's ban violated the U.S. Constitution.