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Gay Marriage Begins

January 7th, 2015 by flanews

As gay couples across the state lined up to get married today, the panhandle couple responsible for the states reversal on the ban waited. Matt Galka was there with them when they made it official.

It was finally the big day for Steve Schlairet and Ozzie Russ.

The Washington county couple has been together for 18 years with no means of being married in Florida. Their lawsuit prompted a federal judge to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage. But the men weren’t at the courthouse when the doors opened.

“I’m not going to jump up and down like I won a million dollars, that would be different, but I’m happy I helped millions of people,” said Russ.

A group of protestors did line up early. Local pastors said they were disappointed their small town was at the center of the debate in Florida.

“They just don’t have the right to throw out the sanctity of marriage. We voted on that, we put it into law that’s a democratic process, and we’ve been violated,” said protester Alan English.

Anti-gay marriage advocates say they’ll keep fighting. John Stemburger Helped pass an amendment defining traditional a marriage in 2008. He’s hoping for the US Supreme Court to step in

“If the Supreme Court has a state’s rights issue, then the marriage amendment is immediately invigorated,” he said.

The state’s Attorney General agrees.

“We hope they take it, that’s what we’ve wanted all along because we want uniformity,” said Pam Bondi.

While some may continue to denounce same sex couples, the only label Schlairet and Russ care about being put on them now, is married.

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