MIAMI (Reuters) - A gay couple hoping to marry in the Florida Keys filed an emergency petition on Monday to reinstate a judge's ruling which struck down the state's gay marriage ban.


Last week Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, whose jurisdiction includes the Florida Keys, ordered the Monroe County Clerk of Court to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting on Tuesday.

But the ruling was automatically put on hold after Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, announced she planned to appeal it, stating that the final decision on the issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

While the ruling applied to only one Florida county, it marks the first decision in several court cases across the state challenging a same-sex marriage ban approved by Florida voters in 2008.

In Thursday's ruling Garcia found in favor of two 43-year-old male bartenders in Key West, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, saying Florida's gay marriage ban violated their rights to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Writing by David Adams; Editing by Jim Loney)

[Same sex marriage via Shutterstock]