Celebrating Pride: Key West couple fought for the right to marry

Same-sex marriage was not legal in Florida when Adam Huntsman and William Lee Jones met, and as their relationship grew, their concerns for their future did too.

In the latest installment of Local 10 News’ Pride Month series, we look back at a Key West couple that met and fell in love when getting married was illegal for them. But it was their fight that helped them and so many just like them.

Adam Huntsman says he made the first move when he met William Lee Jones back in 2003.

“I told him if he could handle me for a year, I would marry him,” Huntsman says. “Of course, that wasn’t, it wasn’t legal at that time.”

Same-sex marriage was not legal in Florida, and as their relationship grew, their concerns for their future did too.

“We know a few of our friends that they didn’t have the rights and protections, then when something happened to their spouse, the family came in and they took everything,” Jones says.

In 2014, they went to court, challenging Florida’s 2008 ban on gay marriage.

The grueling court battle threw them into the national spotlight.

“Channel 10 News, actually, you called us up and gave us the news,” Huntsman remembers.

Circuit Judge Luis Garcia made the groundbreaking decision, the first to rule Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

“Everything was surreal, everything just happened so fast,” Huntsman says.

As soon as the court stay lifted — “12:01 on Jan. 6,” Huntsman recalls — they were married.

It’s when Jones’ bracelet, which he named the shackle of inequality, finally came off.

It was better late than never for the newlyweds. But too late for some who hoped to be there.

“We had lost both of his parents around the same time,” Huntsman says.

These days, the couple uses their platform, calling attention to the need for justice reform to reduce incarceration rates in minority communities.

“People need to get together and actually hold our elected officials accountable,” Huntsman says.


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About the Author:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.