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Florida Set to Become 36th Gay Marriage State as Judicial Hold Expires

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Image:  William Lee Jones (L) and Aaron Huntsman leave the Monroe County Clerk of the Court's office after completing a marriage license application on Jan. 2, in Key West, Florida.
In this photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, William Lee Jones (L) and Aaron Huntsman leave the Monroe County Clerk of the Court's office after completing a marriage license application on January 2, 2015, in Key West, Florida. Jones and Huntsman are planning on receiving their license just after midnight January 5 and getting married immediately afterwards. In July 2014, after Huntsman and Jones filed suit protesting Florida's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage, Keys Judge Luis Garcia ruled the ban was discriminatory and unconstitutional. A state appeal held up the couple's marriage plans until US Judge Robert Hinkle ruled Florida clerks can issue licenses to same-sex couples beginning after midnight Monday. ANDY NEWMAN / AFP - Getty Images

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A judge in Florida ruled Monday that gay couples could marry immediately in Miami-Dade County, and a ban on gay marriage elsewhere in the state is set to expire at midnight. Florida will become the 36th state where gay marriage is legal.

Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel lifted a stay she had placed on her own ruling in July that Florida’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. A federal judge has also found the ban unconstitutional. A hold on that ruling expires at midnight.

Several states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue. The justices will have their first private conference on Friday about whether to take up pending marriage cases.

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— Pete Williams with The Associated Press

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