A Florida judge declared it unconstitutional Thursday for the Monroe County clerk to deny gay couples marriage licenses. The ruling struck down Florida's 2008 ban on same-sex nuptials, but only in Monroe County, which covers the Florida Keys. Two more rulings are expected at any moment in the Sunshine State – one that would apply only to Miami-Dade County and another that would have statewide impact from a federal judge in Tallahassee. Unlike the Monroe and Miami-Dade suits, which only name the county clerks as defendants, the federal case seeks to stop all state officials from enforcing the ban.
The case was filed on behalf of Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two Key West bartenders who have been together for 11 years. The couple sued Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavlin in April for denying them a marriage license. Though the ruling only compels clerks in Monroe County to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses, Miami attorney Elizabeth Schwartz, who is representing plaintiffs in the Miami-Dade suit, anticipates Thursday's decision will have broader implications.