JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Never before has a Supreme Court ruling brought Joe Kluko to tears. But today's ruling to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act hits home for him. He and his husband were married in Massachusetts almost four years ago.
With a smile, Kluko said, "Our marriage is no longer separate, but equal in the eyes of the federal government."
Until now, marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman. That's not the case anymore on a federal level. But on a state level, nothing's changed.
"Florida has it's own defense of marriage act. We have a constitutional ban on same sex marriage which was approved a few years ago," said Cindy Watson, head of JASMYN, a local LGBT youth center. She said even though Floridians won't see an immediate change in the law, she believes one is coming soon.
"We know that more and more people stand with us," she said. "So, we feel like it's a matter of time and hard work for us to have full marriage equality here in Florida."
But cheers from the gay community are translating into jeers from Jacksonville's religious community. Action News spoke with Paul Consbruck, a deacon in the Catholic Church.
He said, "We still look at marriage as between a man and a woman. And that goes back to natural law, the natural order of things."
He said today's DOMA ruling is just one battle in what could be a long war. "In essence, this debate over the defense of marriage, gay marriage or heterosexual marriage, is still going to be something that's decided on a state level," he said.
As for Kluko, he feels happy and validated, knowing that his same-sex marriage means just as much as a heterosexual marriage in the eyes of the law. He said, "My legal marriage is now treated the same as any other marriage."