WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A court ruling could open the door for gay marriage in Florida.
"Everyone deserves the love they share with someone to be blessed," says Pastor Lea Brown.
The Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches has been performing same sex marriages since 1968; however, they're not recognized by the state of Florida. "If you wait for the law to catch up with justice and equality, you're gonna wait a long time," says Pastor Brown.
That wait might be over. On Thursday, a judge in Monroe County ruled in favor of Aaron Huntsman and William Jones. The Florida Keys couple challenged the state's ban on same sex marriage. They won the first round. Equality Florida held a rally at the Palm Beach County courthouse to celebrate. "I'm ecstatic," says Meredith Ockman with the National Organization for Women.
Not everyone is happy about the ruling. It goes against a 2008 amendment passed by voters that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "This corrupt and illegal decision is also a violation of Florida voters' 14th amendment right to equal protection and due process," says Tony Verdugo with the Christian Family Coalition.
But couples here in West Palm Beach aren't backing down. "We're together almost 40 years, and we're anonymous here in Florida," says Ruth Berman, "I don't wanna be anonymous."
The state is appealing the ruling. Attorney General Pam Bondi said the voters' will must be respected. That appeal means marriage licenses for same sex couples in Monroe County will be on hold.