Two Suncoast organizations excited about judge's same sex marriage ruling

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SARASOTA, Fla. - On Thursday, Monroe County County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled Florida's ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional, which means same sex couples can apply for and receive marriage license in the Florida Keys.

“It is great news. We are very excited about the opportunity to get married in Florida,” explained Susan Brucklacher, Co-Chair of the Social Justice Committee at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota. She says she has been helping her church get ready to handle a large volume of request for same sex wedding ceremonies.  “We have activated the network for the Gulf Coast for the interfaith network here in the Sarasota area with lots and lots of ministers and rabbis just eagerly waiting an opportunity to help gay people get married.”

Judge Garcia's ruling only applies to Monroe County in the Florida Keys, but a marriage license obtained there means a couple can legally be married anywhere in the state.

However. an appeal filed Attorney General Pam Bondi put a hold on the ruling.

“We were hoping that couples were going to be able to be married or to apply for licenses as early as Tuesday. That doesn't seem like that is going to happen now with the Bondi appeal,” said Rev. Charles Tigard from the Church of the Trinity. “Here in our church we have couples that have been together 20, 30 even 40 years or more who are just waiting to be married in our home state. It is really exciting but we have a long road to go but we are hoping that marriage equality becomes the law of the land in Florida.”

As the issue continues to work its way through the courts, Brucklacher wants same sex couples to know her church stands ready and willing to help them. “There are churches all across Florida who welcome them and are ready to help them get married. And we are also working to have UU ministers in the court house available in Key West if people want to get married on the spot.”