05:11 GMT30 March 2020
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    Hours before the ban on same-sex marriage is lifted state-wide, a Miami-Dade County judge lifts the ban making it the first place in Florida to do so.

    MOSCOW, January 5 (Sputnik) — A Miami-Dade County judge lifted the ban on same-sex marriage Monday, making it the first place in Florida to do so, hours before the ban is lifted state-wide.

    “I’m lifting the stay. In the big picture, does it really matter whether or not I lift the stay or leave it until tomorrow,” Judge Sarah Zahel was quoted as saying by the Miami Herald newspaper.

    According to the newspaper, couples could apply for marriage licenses in the county immediately, starting noon local time.

    The elected clerk of courts, Harvey Ruvin, was quoted as saying by the newspaper that the offices were ready to follow the judge’s order, “and everyone will be treated equally.”

    Same-sex couples can now marry in 36 US states and Washington D.C. The ruling also means that same-sex marriages performed outside Miami-Dade will now be recognized in the county.

    The ban was termed as unconstitutional by the US District Judge of Tallahassee city in Florida earlier in August. However, the decision was kept under a temporary ban, known as a stay, to allow for legal appeals, as reported by the newspaper.

    The ban took effect in 2008, after it was approved by 62 percent of voters in Florida, but will be lifted stat-wide late Monday based on a federal judge's ruling.

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