The state of Florida on Tuesday began
recognizing the marriages of its gay employees for the purpose of
According to The
Miami Herald, the Florida Department of Management Services
notified state agencies and university benefit coordinators that they
could begin enrolling married gay employees in family plans.
“Employees whose marriages will be
legally recognized in Florida as of Jan. 6, 2015, have a qualifying
status change event window between Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, through
Friday, March 6, 2015, to enroll in a family plan,” Suzette
Furlong, the agency's operations chief, said in a memo.
On Tuesday, a federal judge's order
striking down the state's gay marriage ban took effect, sending
hundreds of couples rushing to county clerk's offices to get hitched.
Bang”: Nearly 1,200 gay couples marry in Florida's 20 largest
Spouses of gay state employees may also
now include their spouse as a beneficiary for their retirement plans.
The ACLU of Florida represents some of
the plaintiff couples challenging the ban.
“God, I hope nobody is surprised that
state officials now are following the judge's order. That's their
duty,” said Howard Simon, the group's executive director.
“This is what our case was all about,
affecting the lives of real families and real people in Florida. It
was always all about protecting and strengthening families,” he
added. “They are implementing what they've been ordered to do.”