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For newly married gay couples, a party in Key West


KEY WEST -- This island doesn’t need much encouragement to throw a party. So even though it was a Monday night after the island’s busiest week, a crowd of 500 people showed up at midnight at the historic Monroe County Courthouse to see the first legal wedding between two men in the Keys.

It was a typically diverse Key West crowd of young and old, straight and gay, wealthy and working class. Among the crowd cheering on the two grooms were real estate agents and bartenders, insurance salesmen and attorneys, retirees and ministers.

While the younger crowd kept the party going afterward at a Duval Street club, the wedding itself had special resonance for many older residents.

Julia Davis and Edie Hambright had front row seats for the ceremony. They brought their own lawn chairs and set them up in front of the courthouse steps.

The couple has been together for 21 years and were legally married in New York. They came to the ceremony to celebrate the union of Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, and to celebrate their own marriage gaining legal recognition in Florida.

“She turns 78 in July and I turn 65 in June. We just didn’t think we’d see it in our lifetime,” said Hambright. “Now we have the same benefits — retirement, health benefits, death benefits. Only a state can give you that kind of stuff. We can’t be denied that.”

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