Today Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel has lifted a stay on her decision to invalidate Florida’s prohibition of gay marriage. The decision, in a case called Pareto v Ruvin, means Miami-Dade County is the first place in the state to have marriage equality. The first marriage will likely take place at 1:30 p.m. today.
Among the plaintiffs are Vanessa and Melanie Alenier, who were overjoyed that they would be allowed to apply for their marriage license today. “I feel amazing!” Said Vanessa. “I can’t wait I apply right now with Melanie! We get to apply for a marriage license today, that is the most amazing thing!”
When Riptide spoke with them, the two were on their way to the clerk’s office, where they and the other co-plaintiffs wil apply for licenses. “I’m so excited we’re going to be married!” said Melanie.
Row lliescu from Equality Florida was also delighted by Zabel’s decision. “I’m elated, said lliescu. “There’s so much pent-up emotion coming out in streams. Florida, other organizations and these couples had waited so long for same-sex marriage to come to the state! This is the best way to start the year!”
Todd and Jeff Delmay will be married today by Zabel herself. “There are no words right now except elation, said Todd.
” I feel like I’m floating,” said Jeff, holding Todd’s hand as the pair headed to the clerk’s office.
Gay marriage will be allowed in most of the rest of Florida at midnight tonight, though some North Florida counties have ceased marrying people to sidestep the controversy.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee declared the state ban unconstitutional in August, but stayed his decision through today. Both the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to extend the stay.
Zabel was the second state judge — after a Florida Keys magistrate — to declare the the 2008 amendment to Florida’s Constitution invalid. Two more judges, in Broward and Palm Beach, joined them.
Zabel ruled in favor of six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute. They sued last Jan. 21. Other plaintiffs included Jorge Isaias Diaz and Don Price Johnston of Miami; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price of Davie; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier of Hollywood; Todd and Jeff Delmay of Hollywood; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber of Plantation.