SARASOTA -- After officially marrying her partner outside the Sarasota County Courthouse in front of a courtyard full of spectators, Barbara Sharpe was at a loss for words.
"I don't have words for this," Sharpe said as she began to cry.
Sharpe married her partner of two years Susan Pringle on Tuesday morning in a joint ceremony with their friends Patricia Cummins and Gail Foreman, who have been together for 24 years.
Cindy Barnes, chairwoman of Sarasota Pride, officiated the wedding, calling the moment a historic day for Florida.
"We didn't think it was going to happen," Barnes said. "We just didn't."
Sarasota residents AJ Steverson and Cole Vining were the third couple lined up outside the Sarasota Clerk of Courts office at 2000 Main St. on Tuesday morning. The couple got there at 7:25 a.m. because they "didn't know what to expect," said Steverson.
"It's finally here," said Steverson, who has been with Vining for three years. "I'm not dreaming. I've dreamt of this moment, but I'm not dreaming in the present."
For John Fuss, who wed his husband Duvan Romero Churio in Massachusetts in 2010, the marriage is now recognized by their home state of Florida.
"It is exciting to see this many couples," Fuss said as he held a picture of him and his husband on their wedding day. "It is an exciting time."
Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell came to watch the first marriage licenses be issued in the county and the first weddings.
"I'm so happy to be here," she said. "I can't stand it. It's about time."
Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or firstname.lastname@example.org.