Florida clerks await green light to issue same-sex marriage licenses
County clerks throughout the state are hesitant to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples on January 6th. That’s after a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinckle who called the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. A memo from a Florida law firm says that ruling only applies to Washington County.
The Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers Association says the recent ruling from a U.S. district court judge calling the same-sex marriage ban ‘unconstitutional’ only applies to Washington County.
Mary Meeks is a civil rights attorney in Orlando and a staunch marriage equality advocate. She said the Hinckle ruling is clear:
“I think you’re going to see additional formal responses refuting the assertions in that memo in attempts to persuade the clerks that they shouldn’t follow that advice,” she said.
Despite plans for a mass wedding ceremony in Orlando on January 6th, Orange County clerk, Tiffany Moore Russell, is waiting for a green light from a local or federal court that she can issue the licenses.
“It concerns a lot of citizens in Florida, and what we don’t want to create is piecemeal where one county can do it and another can’t,” she said.
The Washington County clerk has requested clarification from Judge Hinckle about whether his ruling applies to all Florida counties.
In the meantime, some local officials are urging Orange and Osceola county state attorney, Jeffrey Ashton, to confirm whether clerks will be prosecuted for granting the licenses. Ashton issued a written statement saying he will investigate any complaints he receives, just as he normally would.
Orange County clerk, Tiffany Moore Russell hopes to receive clarification from a local or federal court before January 6th.
Osceola County clerk, Armando Ramirez, says he already is planning on issuing the licenses.
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