The good news on marriage equality just keeps on coming this week.
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from five states, covering seven lawsuits which in circuit courts of appeal had ruled same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. That cleared the way for weddings to start in five states for sure, plus six more states within those circuit courts’ jurisdictions.
Then the 9th Circuit Court upheld lower court rulings in two cases — from Nevada and Idaho — overturning bans there. Those rulings could affect three more states. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy granted a stay in that ruling insofar as Idaho is concerned, because state officials there asked for a stay. But Nevada officials have chosen not to appeal the ruling regarding their state — amid fears of a boycott by LGBT tourists and their allies in a state whose lifeblood is tourism — and AP was reporting Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 8, that Kennedy’s stay does not affect Nevada.
And now comes word from Equality Florida that the first same-sex marriage is being recognized there by state officials.
On Aug. 21, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle declared that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and even though his ruling was stayed, he ordered the state to issue a new death certificate for Carol Goldwasser that would name Arlene Goldberg, her partner of 47 years, as her legal wife.
Goldberg was added as a plaintiff in Grimsley and Alby v. Scott when the ACLU filed a motion of preliminary injunction in April asking the court to immediately stop enforcing the same-sex marriage ban there. Goldberg received the new death certificate on Wednesday, making her and Goldwasser the first same-sex couple to have their marriage legally recognized by the state.
Goldberg said it was difficult to express “how meaningful this is to me.”
She said, “For 47 years, Carol and I made our lives together, all the while being treated like strangers in the eyes of the law in Florida. It’s bittersweet that Carol isn’t here to share this joy with me, but for the first time in 47 years, our marriage was respected. Our relationship and commitment to each other is finally recognized.”
Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, said Wednesday that while she and her organization share Goldberg’s joy, “Couples shouldn’t have to wait until one spouse dies to receive the recognition and dignity that they deserve.” Smith added that Equality Florida is “more committed than ever to seeing the day when all Florida couples and families and treated equally and fairly.”
Smith also called on Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi to “drop their appeals and let marriage for all couples move forward in the Sunshine State.”