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Florida Gay Couples Hope To Wed Soon But Legal Picture Unclear

William Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman hope they can marry on the courthouse steps in Key West at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6.
William Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman hope they can marry on the courthouse steps in Key West at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6.

Gay couples who want to marry in Florida were delighted with Friday's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The court left a federal judge's ruling in place, declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. While couples hope they can tie the knot early in the new year, the legal situation remains unclear.

Aaron Huntsman and William Jones of Key West won Florida's first ruling that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional last July. After Friday's ruling in a parallel federal case, they would like to get married as soon as possible. They said  Monroe County Clerk of Courts Amy Heavilin has told them she's willing to open the office and marry them on the courthouse steps at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

William Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman hope they can marry on the courthouse steps in Key West at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
William Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman hope they can marry on the courthouse steps in Key West at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6.

But a law firm advising Florida's court clerks says the federal ruling applies only to Washington County— and other clerks could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if they issue marriage licenses.

"It's kind of [got] so many moving parts, it's like eating spaghetti with a knife," says Huntsman.

The couple said they hope Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will take the high court ruling as a cue and drop the state's opposition to gay marriage altogether.

They're also waiting to hear about the next step in their own case, which the state took to the Third District Court of Appeal.

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