Fight For Marriage Equality Holding Strong As Activists Rally In Key West
KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones planned on marrying Tuesday in Key West after a judge ruled in their favor—overturning Florida’s voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage—but that won’t happen just yet as the motion was denied Monday.
“We were actually going to get married right on this spot where we are right now,” the couple told CBS4’s Ted Scouten, “it’s kind of ironic we’re back here right now. Just gives us more time planning.”
Last week, Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled marriage licenses could be issued in Monroe County beginning Tuesday. That was blocked by an automatic stay triggered when Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi filed notice of the state’s appeal.
Instead of celebrating marriages Tuesday, people came out to protest. Petitions are being signed which urge the state to drop its opposition—something that isn’t too likely.
Huntsman and Jones, a couple for 11 years, filed a lawsuit protesting the ban and many supporters in Key West remain hopeful.
“We’re doing everything we can to have this stay lifted. I’m pretty confident we’re going to get it lifted,” said Attorney Elena Vigil-Farinas, one of the attorneys for the couple. Vigil-Farinas said she plans to ask the District Court of Appeals today to lift the stay.
“In 2008 the voters of the state decided marriage would be between a man and a woman, traditional marriage,” said Governor Rick Scott. “It’s gone to the courts. The courts will end up deciding.”
Kimberly Debus, a minister, was planning on performing same sex weddings Tuesday in Key West—instead she’s lending her support to couples who are fighting to make it legal.
“Not all religious people are against marriage equality,” said Debus. “The moral arc of the universe bends toward justice and sometimes it bends slowly—but it will bend.”
For Hunstman and Jones, it’s more waiting—trying to find the silver lining in what’s turning into a long, emotional battle.
“The thunderstorm lifted, the sun is out, we did see a rainbow so that’s a good sign there.”
Attorneys for the couple are hoping to get the case moved directly to the Florida Supreme Court, bypassing the court of appeals to save time and money.