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Pensacola Pastor Ready For Marriage Equality

Pensacola Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church.

The arrival of marriage equality in Florida is a milestone in a long fight by a Pensacola pastor.

Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt is Senior Pastor at Pensacola's Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church. He says many couples have been waiting for the arrival of marriage equality in the state for 20 years or more. 

Pastor Merritt and two of his associates at the Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church will be performing free marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples all day long on Tuesday the 6th.

According to Merritt, his church has been a long time advocate for marriage equality, with their involvement in the movement going back decades. "Metropolitan Community Church did the first documented same gender wedding back in 1968 in Los Angeles...and our church has been involved in the struggle for marriage equality ever since."

On Monday, Merritt has been conducting the four hour marriage counseling course for couples who do not want to go through the mandatory three day waiting period for Florida residents who wish to get married in the state. He says the reaction from people around town has been positive, for the most part, although he reports getting some negative push back on their Facebook and web pages.

The Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt is Senior Pastor at Pensacola's Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church. He is also the Marriage Equality Director for the Global Justice Institute. The wedding ceremonies at the church on Fairfield Drive will begin at 10am Tuesday and continue every 30 minutes for 24 hours. As well as a free ceremony, there will also be free cake for the couples.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.