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Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Florida's ban on same-sex marriage ended statewide at the stroke of midnight Monday, January 5, 2015 and court clerks in some counties wasted no time, issuing marriage licenses and performing weddings for same-sex couples in the early morning hours.

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Miami-Dade County, Florida

But they were beaten to the punch by a Miami judge who found no need to wait until the statewide ban expired. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel presided over Florida's first legally recognized same-sex marriages Monday afternoon. Still, most counties held off on official ceremonies until early Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle's ruling that Florida's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional took effect in all 67 counties.

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U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a ruling Thursday in Tallahassee federal court responding to requests to clarify his previous order that Florida's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. He stayed that order, but the stay is scheduled to expire on January 5, 2015.  The association representing county clerks said the ruling applies only to Washington County, where a lawsuit filed by two men became a key basis for Hinkle's order. Gay rights groups said Hinkle's order applies statewide. Hinkle warned Thursday that clerks who don't start issuing the licenses when the stay expires could face future lawsuits or other legal consequences.

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On December 19, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's petition asking Justice Clarence Thomas to place a stay on rulings that struck down Florida's ban on same-sex marriage. But it appears same-sex couples who want a marriage license on January 6, 2015 may be turned away by fearful clerks because Florida's marriage ban was written to include particularly punitive measures for officials who allow same-sex couples to marry. Even though a federal judge has overturned the marriage ban, an appeal is still underway, which means that a prosecutor might try to make the case that the criminal sanctions remain in place.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted a request from Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi to hear arguments on a federal judge's ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling in question comes from Judge Robert Hinkle. Hinkle found that Florida's voter-approved marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution and, after some legal rigmarole, declared that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the Sunshine State starting January 6. Bondi for her part has appealed that ruling to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and wants Justice Thomas to stay Judge Hinkle's ruling so that it will not go into effect until the 11th Circuit has a chance to consider the question. Bondi is hanging her hopes on the incongruency that now exists in the wake of the 6th Circuit upholding a state's ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the only circuit court to uphold such a ban.

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A Melbourne gay couple have married in their city's United Kingdom consulate, making them the first same-sex couple in the world to be legally married under Scottish law.

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Married Pretsell and Gloster 

Scottish citizen Douglas Pretsell has become the first of his countrymen to legally marry another man as Scotland's marriage equality law comes into effect on December 16, 2014. Pretsell married Australian man Peter Gloster at the British consulate in Melbourne at 11.01am today at the exact moment when Scotland's equal marriage legislation came into effect. The couple had already entered into a civil partnership which allowed them to take advantage of the new law.  A quirk of Scottish law means same-sex couples not in civil partnerships will have to wait 15 days to marry, while Scottish residents in civil partnerships cannot convert to marriage until registry offices open in Scotland. Pretsell said he was thrilled to be part of the history of his homeland moving forward on the issue. 'It's wonderful to finally have our marriage confirmed, especially since the Scottish legislation is the most progressive in the world with the full inclusion of transgender and intersex partners,' Pretsell said.