SWFL counties will issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriages

Author: Matt Dougherty
Published: Updated:

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- New developments on same-sex marriage in Florida. Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties announced they would issue marriage licenses to gay couples starting on Tuesday.

Arlene Goldberg says she’ll be standing outside of the county courthouse with 100 roses on Tuesday morning, passing them out to the newly married couples.

She says it’s been a long fight. For her, the judge’s decision arrived a little too late.

“She’d say, ‘my god Arlene, why’d you do this to me?’ And I’d say, “I didn’t do it to you, I did it for you.”

Goldberg didn’t know her case would turn the tide.

When the woman she had been together with for 47 years died last March, Goldberg learned her marriage never existed in the State of Florida’s eyes.

Even though the couple was together for almost 50 years, and were married in New York, Carol Goldwasser was buried as a single woman.

Goldberg wasn’t allowed to collect her wife’s benefits and had to sell the couple’s home.

“New Year’s… that was really hard, because in 47 years, we’d never spent a new year’s apart. That was tough, but I got through it,” said Goldberg. “Judge Hinkle gave the LGBT community a gift.”

She sued the state and a judge ruled the couple was married while Goldwasser was alive. Goldwasser’s death certificate amended to include Goldberg as her wife.

It was the State of Florida’s first legal document with a gay marriage. But the judge put a stay on the second case, whether same sex couples could marry, until Thursday, when he ruled they can.

Goldberg says the new ruling is a step in the right direction, it’s less about who you are, and more about love.

“When I think of Carol now, I think of what a wonderful relationship we had for so long, that’s the one person you can trust in the whole world, they would never hurt you.”

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi says she won’t try to block the marriages set for Tuesday.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.