Nation & World

Ruling allows same-sex marriages for Florida Keys

MIAMI — A judge in the Florida Keys has overturned the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage after a legal challenge by six gay couples said it effectively made them second-class citizens.

The ruling was issued Thursday by Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia and applies only to Monroe County, which covers the Keys. The lawsuit contended that the same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2008 violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. The judge says licenses could be issued starting Tuesday.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and ban supporters argued that the referendum vote should be respected and that Florida has sole authority to define marriage in the state. The Florida amendment defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

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