immigration lawyer, miami fl

Gay Marriage Begins in Florida

Jan 7, 2015

Gay Marriage Begins in Florida

AUTHOR MICHAEL G. MURRAY,
IMMIGRATION LAWYER (MIAMI)
MICHAEL G. MURRAY, P.A., IMMIGRATION LAWYER (MIAMI)
January 7, 2015

As a Floridian and a Miami immigration attorney, I am proud to join in the resounding chorus of support for a very momentous occasion. As of Monday, January 6, 2015, gay couples will be able to obtain marriage licenses from the State of Florida. I congratulate the LGBT community for this historical development, and thank them for their tireless activism in bringing this day to fruition.

If you and your same-sex partner are thinking of getting married, here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Getting Your Marriage License
    Florida law requires a three-day wait between the time when a couple applies for a marriage license, and when they can have a wedding ceremony. Couples who complete a four-hour marital counseling course can skip the waiting period and save money on a license. The courses can be taken in person or online.
  2. Applying in Person
    Please be aware that both spouses must apply for the license in person. You will need a valid picture ID such as a driver’s license, state ID card, or valid passport. Both parties will also have to provide their Social Security numbers. Please note – you  do not need to provide your Social Security Cards, according to the state website.
  3. Cost of a Marriage License
    The marriage license costs $93.50, but that can be reduced by up to $32.50 if the couple completes the pre-marital course. Licenses are valid for 60 days. The wedding ceremony can take place in any county, not just the one where the license is issued.

Can I have a gay wedding ceremony at all courthouses?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “no.” There are a handful of Florida county clerks who have said they will stop offering all courthouse wedding ceremonies to avoid performing those ceremonies for same-sex couples. The three counties who are stopped offering courthouse wedding ceremonies are: Duval, Clay and Baker counties. Gay couples will still be able to obtain marriage licenses from these three counties; however, be aware that the three counties have decided to end all courthouse weddings to avoid performing those ceremonies for same-sex couples, among other reasons. The clerks in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties also have made similar announcements.

Are there immigration benefits for same-sex marriage couples?
Yes. After the United States Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) were required to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse. Thus, LGBTS are now afforded the right to obtain immigration benefits based on same-sex marriages.

What does this mean for same-sex couples in Florida?
If you are in a same-sex relationship, you can now obtain a valid marriage license from the State of Florida. Doing so will allow you or your spouse to adjust status based upon his/her marriage to a United States citizen. If you or your loved one is considering this course of action, I would highly recommend that you consult with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.

If you think would like more information on same-sex marriage and related immigration benefits, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at www. mmurraylaw.com .

CONTACT Michael G. Murray, P.A. for assistance with immigration law in miami and south florida.
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