Miami-Dade Judge Lifts Stay on Marriage Ruling, Makes Miami-Dade First Florida County to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

For Immediate Release


ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

Miami-Dade Judge Lifts Stay on Marriage Ruling, Makes Miami-Dade First Florida County to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Motion to lift stay filed in response to federal court order clarifying that the Florida marriage ban is unconstitutional and means all clerks should issue licenses to same-sex couples;

MIAMI, FL - Today, a Miami-Dade County circuit court judge lifted a stay on a previous ruling and ordered the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Court to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting today. This ruling comes as the result of a motion filed in response to an order from U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle stating that all county clerks are required to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples and all other public officials are required to recognize those marriages.

In August 2014, Judge Hinkle issued a ruling holding Florida’s marriage ban unconstitutional in two cases -- one brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida on behalf of eight couples, a Fort Myers widow, and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization; the other by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Sam Jacobson on behalf of two couples. A stay on that decision is set to expire at the end of the day today, and an order from Judge Hinkle on January 1st clarified that the ruling meant that all Florida clerks should begin issuing marriage licenses when the stay expires.

In a separate case, in which six same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute, represented by attorneys for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and several attorneys in private practice filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County circuit court challenging the marriage ban, the court ruled in July that Miami-Dade County should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but stayed that ruling pending the appeal. In a motion filed January 2nd, Miami-Dade Clerk of Court Harvey Rubin asked Judge Sarah Zabel to lift the stay in light of Judge Hinkle’s January 1st order. In a hearing this morning, Judge Zabel agreed to lift the stay.

Responding to the news, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simonstated:

 “We congratulate the couples in this case who will be able to celebrate their marriages today as a result of Judge Zabel’s ruling, as well as the legal team who litigated this case.

“Judge Zabel’s decision today was prompted by Judge Hinkle’s order clarifying that all clerks are required to issue marriage licenses. The order by Judge Hinkle was referenced in the courtroom today by attorneys for both the plaintiffs and the clerk. This is how change happens: the victories of coalition partners building on one another and creating real change for Florida families.

“Today, Miami-Dade County celebrates marriage equality. Tomorrow, the whole state of Florida will.”

Attorneys from the ACLU and the ACLU of Florida and Stephen F. Rosenthal of Podhurst Orseck, P.A. represent the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s marriage ban.

More information on the ACLU’s case, including bios of the couples, is available at:


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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