On the day after the Pulse massacre, a prominent image for many Key Westers was that of the Rev. Steve Torrence and his husband John Hernandez leading an emotional group to the water’s edge. Pride was wrapping up on the island but for many, the party could wait. Torrence spoke a few words before his husband placed a wreath of soft white flowers into the waves. From AIDS patient advocate to Animal Shelter supporter to keeper of the peace, Torrence has been ministering to the whole community.
Torrence came to the keys in 1985 to pastor the Metropolitan Community Church. He recognized the support within the community, and decided to stay, and became part of the fabric of island life.
AIDS was a national crisis at the time so Torrence became an advocate for those without a voice, co-founding AIDS Help. He continues to be a voice for inclusion and justice as Chair of the 16th Circuit Juvenile Justice Board, Chair of the Monroe County Community Alliance Board - Florida Department of Children and Families, Police Athletic League Board and Monroe County's Health and Human Services Advisory Board among other affiliations.
Torrence maintains a modest profile despite the extra-curricular endeavors as well as two high-profile jobs. He continues to serve as Pastor of the MCC Key West, performing the first same-sex wedding in Monroe County. He is also a police officer with the Key West Police Department. Retirement is on the horizon, however, at which point Torrence will return to full-time pastoring.