ACLU lawsuit plaintiff behind historic LGBT ruling

Same sex couples are celebrating the news that a federal judge ruled on a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional in our state.

Florida joined the list of states that have had gay marriage bans struck down in federal court, although Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi's office has gone on the record saying a single judge shouldn't overturn an amendment passed by a majority of voters.

We got a chance to speak with the woman at the forefront of the historic lawsuit.

"My wife Carol died on March 13. I saw the case and said I need to call," said ACLU lawsuit plaintiff Arlene Goldberg.

She felt like their life together had been erased.

"Her death certificate listed she was single and never married, but we were married in New York."

They'd known each other since they were 13, were a couple for 47 years, and called each other wife for three years. After Carol's death, Arlene didn't see a penny from Carol's pension or social security. Eventually, she lost their home because she couldn't afford to pay for it alone.

"I had to sell the house on a short sale," she said.

And when it came to funeral arrangements, she had no control.

"I felt lonely. After 47 years had gone, then not getting the rights I deserved," she said.

Arlene shared her story Sunday at a rally in Tampa and was cheered on by supporters like U.S. Representative Kathy Castor who said the ruling is historic.

"It's an important milestone in the state -- the first big one in the state of Florida -- as we've watched 19 other states approve equality for marriage."

When the ruling came down, Arlene said she didn't know what to do. Then she started getting phone calls.

Now, she's getting standing ovations for her actions in raising awareness for LGBT rights. She hopes to get a new death certificate, acknowledging her marriage to Carol.

"The Attorney General could put a stay on it, but if she does that, how does that look?"

In Hillsborough County, where this event happened back in 2005, there was a government ban on public gay pride celebrations.

To learn more about ACLU, click here.

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