MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Dozens of same-sex couples renewed their vows at a free ceremony in Miami Beach Tuesday night.READ MORE: PlanetWatch: Miami Chosen As 1st Major US Location For New Air Quality Monitoring Network
The event, sponsored by SAVE and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, came just hours after clerks of court across the state began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
“We got married in New York on July 15, 2013,” Bob Collier said.
Collier and his husband Chuck Hunziker reaffirmed their commitment at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.
Together for more than five decades, they can still see the humor in their fight for equal rights.
“We had a fifty year engagement. We wanted it to be respectable. We finally decided let’s get married,” Hunziker joked.
The ceremony was free to couples wishing to participate.
In fact, everything from the venue and flowers, to cocktails and cake was donated.READ MORE: Hollywood Family Lights ‘Greater & Bigger’ Display After Thief Steals Their 6-Foot Metal Menorah
It was a sweet feeling for those who never thought they’d be able to share this joy.
“I look back six years ago to how I led my life, and then I look at today where love leads the way. And it’s the best feeling,” said Christian Ulvert as he shared a slice of cake with his husband.
“We’re just happy to live where we want to live and be with who we want to be with,” Stephanie Rivera Smith told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Around the state, same-sex couples exchanged vows Tuesday, starting with a midnight marriage in Monroe County and early morning mass weddings in Broward.
The first same-sex couple to wed in Miami-Dade did so on Monday, just hours after Judge Sarah Zabel lifted the stay on her ruling declaring the ban on gay marriages unconstitutional.
In Miami Beach, vendors are hoping to capitalize on the unions.
“Weddings are a big part of our business on Miami Beach,” Mayor Philip Levine told Pastrana. “Whether it’s same-sex couples or hetero couples. And we want to welcome everybody to come here and we hope Miami Beach becomes the number one destination for same sex couples to honeymoon, get married, whatever it may be.”
The director of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden said the venue has already been booked for an upcoming gay wedding.MORE NEWS: Dale Holness Files Lawsuit Seeking To Overturn Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick's Razor-Thin Win
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