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Key Westers Celebrate Gay Marriage Clarification

Andy Newman
Florida Keys News Service

William Jones was about to head to work at the 801 Bourbon Bar on New Year's Day in Key West when he heard the news: A federal judge had clarified his order, clearing the way for Florida to start issuing marriage licenses to to gay couples.

Jones and his fiance, Aaron Huntsman, won Florida's first state court ruling overturning the state's ban on gay marriage. But they were stuck in legal limbo and didn't know until Thursday if they could get married on the morning of Jan. 6. That's when U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's order takes effect.

"I finally get to marry the guy that I've loved for 12 years," said Jones, just before walking into the bar where he was greeted with cheers and congratulations.

Other Key Westers, like Paul Harding and Ron Sullivan, gave up on waiting for Florida and traveled out of state to get married.

"It's a shame we had to go to Maryland this past August, when we've been together for 35 years," Sullivan said.

Even though Florida now recognizes their out-of-state marriage, Sullivan said he'd like to have another wedding — this one at home.