Florida is preparing to begin issuing
marriage licenses next month to gay and lesbian couples after the
Supreme Court refused to delay implementation of a federal judge's
ruling striking down Florida's ban on gay marriage. But the state
continues to argue that gay couples will only be allowed to marry in
the one county named in the lawsuit.
The Supreme Court's decision not to
intervene in Florida is noteworthy because it is the first case in
which the high court has denied a stay in a case challenging a state
marriage ban before a federal appeals court has weighed in. (Though
an appeals court has declined to stay the ruling.)
statement issued late Friday, Attorney General Pam Bondi appeared
to be digging in her heels on which counties may begin issuing
marriage licenses to gay couples after January 5, when the current
“Regardless of the ruling it has
always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the
final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved
constitutional amendment on marriage,” Bondi said.
The Florida Association of Court Clerks
and Comptrollers issued a statement on Tuesday backing Bondi's claim
and warned clerks that the issuance of an improper marriage license
is a misdemeanor offense.
Lawyers representing the plaintiffs
have repeatedly said that the ruling applies statewide.
A county that wants to continue
enforcing the ban would face a steep incline in federal court after
the Supreme Court's decision.
Activists on Friday said that they were
prepared to sue each of the state's remaining 66 counties, if
Attorney Carrington Mead told First
Coast News: “I think that if what they want is for each clerk
to be sued, then we should accommodate them.”
Nancy K. Brodzki, a family lawyer in
Coral Springs, tweeted
on Saturday: “I'm ready to file suit against any and all clerks of
court who refuse to issue marriage licenses!”
How many clerks are willing to risk
costly litigation to delay issuing marriage licenses to gay couples
remains to be seen.
Florida's 3-day waiting period means
that the first gay couples will tie the knot on January 10.