Gay Couples Turned Away at Courthouse

Many people choose Valentine's Day to get married, but Bay Count courthouse workers refused to issue a marriage license to two couples today because it's against Florida law.

While asking for a marriage license is a simple request for most couples, for Jack Harvey and Al Burgermeister it was a request that was denied.

"When she said that to me something snapped inside me because all of a sudden - and I'm getting emotional now - I realized that under the law in my country the citizens of this state that I cannot have the same legal contract with my partner that straight couples have," said Burgermeister.

Bob McNeal and Rick Mart also applied and were subsequently denied.

"We've been together going on 30 years this April," said Mart. "Even though we knew this was going to happen, we wanted to make a statement."

Officials at the courthouse say they're simply following the law which expressly prohibits issuing a marriage license to same sex couples.

While both couples expected to be denied, they're still disappointed.

"Al and I have been together for 23 years," said Harvey. "If we have that marriage certificate is that going to undermine your marriage? Is that going to threaten you?"

"I'm not asking for your church to bless my marriage," Burgermeister said. "I'm asking for the state, for our government to allow me to have the same contract that any other citizen can have. This is not a religious issue. This country is not a theocracy, this country is a secular democracy."

Several dozen people showed up to support the companies, they say they hope same sex marriage will be legal nationwide one day.
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