MANATEE -- Up until Friday, a small piece of laminated paper sat on the desktop in the marriage license section of the old Manatee County Courthouse.
"The constitutionality of same-sex marriage licenses in Florida is currently unclear," the paper read. "Although a number of courts have deemed Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the issue remains subject to ongoing litigation and appeals. As such, the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller cannot guarantee the license's validity now or in the future."
The paper was taken down Friday after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled bans on gay marriage unconstitutional. The legitimacy of 125 same-sex marriage licenses issued so far in Manatee County are now just as fixed as their opposite-sex counterparts.
"We were waiting on the Supreme Court to rule because we didn't know what was going to happen," said R.B. "Chips" Shore, clerk of the circuit court, who wrote the note. "Now, I see no problems from this whatsoever. And I've talked to other clerks in Florida, and I think we're all on the same page."
The Supreme Court ruling means every state has to recognize same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Florida in January after a federal court ruled the state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
It's good news for same-sex couples such as Jessica Casciola, 32, and Wendy Walker, 37, who married in February after being one of the first couples in Manatee County to get a marriage license.
"I actually didn't ever think that it would be a possibility in my lifetime. I mean, I remember having this discussion early in my adulthood with my parents, and them saying: 'No, no, it will happen in your lifetime.' And I just didn't believe it," Casciola said. "It didn't seem like anything that was possible. So this is a nice surprise."
Casciola said she plans to stay in Florida the rest of her life so the Supreme Court ruling doesn't affect her much personally. She said she's glad same-sex marriages will now be recognized around the country.
"It made a difference to us, emotionally, being married, which I don't think either of us anticipated," Casciola said. "We were together for a good amount of time, so obviously we're committed to each other. But it just feels like a deeper commitment now that we're married."
Casciola said she's also happy for her wife's daughter, who identifies as a lesbian.
"For my wife, it's important that her daughter doesn't have to be raised in a situation or an environment where it's not as supported by the government or the people around you," she said.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who delivered the Supreme Court's 5-4 majority opinion, echoed the sentiment.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. ... It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage," Kennedy wrote. "Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves."
Kate Irby, Herald online/political reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7055 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter @KateIrby