A Florida state judge on Monday ordered Miami-Dade County to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, a day before a federal judge's order striking down the state's ban on gay marriage was set to take effect.

Judge Sarah Zabel of the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit invalidated Florida's ban on July 25 but put her ruling on hold pending an appeal.

After a brief hearing on Monday, Zabel agreed to lift the stay, making Miami-Dade the first county in the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Zabel also agreed to marry plaintiff couples who wish to marry today.

The first couple to receive a marriage license were Karla Arguello and Cathy Pareto (pictured), according to Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate. Arguello and Pareto are among the six couples who challenged the ban.

Plaintiffs were represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

“This is a pivotal moment not just for Miami but for the entire country,” NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter said in a statement. “Florida is a bellwether state, and I can think of no more encouraging sign as the US Supreme Court prepares to decide whether to resolve this issue for the entire country at its next conference on January 9, and as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in the Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana marriage cases the same day. This is an incredibly important week for marriage equality, and we are so thrilled that Miami couples are leading the charge.”

UPDATE: Arguello and Pareto have become the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Florida.