Supreme Court Denies Stay on Florida's Same Sex Ban Sparking Fear Among State Court Clerks
Monday, September 25, 2023
Home  >  Beams of light  >  Guiding lights  >  Support groups  >  Supreme Court Denies Stay on Florida's Same Sex Ban Sparking Fear Among State Court Clerks

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active


Equality Florida, a prominent group supporting legalization of same-sex marriage, issued a news release Monday that said clerks "have a legal obligation to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — or risk expensive litigation, including liability for damages and attorney fees."  "Clerks can stand in the doorway and try to block equality or they can welcome gay couples who have waited for decades for this moment," Nadine Smith, chief executive officer of Equality Florida, said in a press release. "We expect every clerk to uphold their oath and protect the constitutional rights of gay couples seeking marriage licenses. No legal firm's memo overrides their clear legal obligation."


Although it's hard to imagine law enforcement officials would arrest clerks who issue licenses, it's not out of the question. As recently as 2011, the state was still prosecuting heterosexuals who lived together without marrying, thanks to a 19th-century law against cohabitation. According to lawyers for the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, only clerks in northern Florida's Washington County are allowed to issue licenses. That county is named specifically in the lawsuit, the attorneys say, and the ruling does not apply to any of the state's other counties. It's worth noting that the law firm advising the clerks, Greenberg Traurig, actually supports the freedom to marry. The firm has voiced support for the repeal of Florida's marriage ban, and previously assisted with the repeal of a law that prevented gay couples from adopting.




    Click Here to Read More About Florida's State Attorney's Request to Supreme Court Justice Thomas