Everything seemed quiet outside the courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale just before midnight. The only thing that hinted that there might be something monumental going on inside was the presence of about a dozen cops scattered around the entrance.
In a huge waiting room on the third floor, about 300 people hugged and kissed and hugged some more. They gathered, with numbered tickets in hand, for their chance to get married to the people they love. Today, January 6, 2015, is the first day that same-sex couples can legally marry in Florida. And these folks -- mostly couples, a few with friends, some who'd been waiting decades, others just months -- were ready to tie the knot the old-fashioned way, with a group of strangers turned friends and some pretty terrible wedding music blasting from speakers.
We happened to literally walk into the first gay couples trotting down the stairs to get their marriage licenses on the second floor. Their numbers had been called, and they were on their way to pay their dues and form legal unions.