ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – It was a historic ruling Friday evening when the United States Supreme Court decided not to stop same-sex marriages in Florida. The decision means gay weddings could start in just weeks.
It is up to each county clerk's office now to issue marriage licenses on Jan. 6, a day after the current stay expires.
"This is a hugely historic day. Some people have waited for 40 to 50 years for this. Some people have had their partner, husband or wife die before the state recognized their relationship of 30 to 40 years," said Michael Farmer, with Equality Florida.
For Wil Brown and his partner, Joshua Eads, this means after 10 years they can soon legally marry.
"It's really hard to put it into words. The only thing that I can do is to put it in feelings and my feelings are that it's about time," said Brown.
"I really, as much as I love it [Florida] felt like we were going to be the last ones on the train and I'm glad to know that we're not," said Eads.
In August, Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional, but before it became law the courts gave time for appeals until Jan. 5.
Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, turned to the Supreme Court in an effort to keep the ban. Her office conceded Friday night:
"Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the state's request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Regardless of the ruling it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on Jan. 5."
"I'm just glad that she realizes that this is the final say and that clerks can begin issuing marriage licenses," said Farmer.
The Osceola County Clerk of Court said it will open its doors at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6, the day after the ban is set to expire.
Workers will issue same-sex marriage licenses to the first 30 couples who appear before 2 a.m. The courthouse will reopen at 8 a.m.