A legal group on Wednesday warned Florida clerks that they may be held in contempt of court if they continue to enforce the state's gay marriage ban after a ruling striking it down takes effect next month.

The Supreme Court last week refused to delay implementation of the decision, removing the last obstacle for it to take effect after January 5, when the current stay expires.

The law firm Greenberg Traurig advised clerks not a party to the litigation against issuing such licenses starting next month.

“The advice provided by Greenberg Traurig to our client, the Florida Association of Clerks and Comptrollers, addresses a Florida clerk's duties under existing Florida law, which prohibits the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses,” Hilarie Bass, the firm's Miami-based co-president, told the Miami Herald. “Current Florida law makes it a crime – punishable by imprisonment or a fine – to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Greenberg Traurig is not advising the clerks as to the constitutionality of the Florida ban on same-sex marriage.”

Lora Bell, the clerk of court for Washington County, on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle to clarify whether his ruling only applies to plaintiffs.

“[T]he Clerk requests clarification as to whether the Injunction requires that the Clerk only issue marriage licenses to Stephen Schlairet and Ozzie Russ as specifically set forth in the Injunction, both of whom are parties to this matter, or if the Injunction requires that the Clerk issue marriage licenses to all same-sex couples who apply once the stay expires at the end of the day on January 5, 2015,” the filing states. “[T]he Clerk is uncertain whether the Injunction requires her to issue marriage licenses to other same-sex couples.”

Several of the state's 67 clerks have already said that they do not plan to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on January 6, arguing that the ruling applies only to Washington County.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), which represents plaintiffs in similar state challenges, and Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, said on Wednesday that the ruling applies to all counties and that the “advice provided to the Clerks Association in legal memoranda from a private law firm is incorrect.”

NCLR concluded that “a federal court order is binding not only on the parties to the case, but also on all 'persons who are in active concern or participation with' any of the parties”; “non-party government officials may choose to comply with a federal district court ruling that a law is unconstitutional, even when they are not technically bound by the ruling”; “an unconstitutional law is void and unenforceable”; and “county clerks who follow Judge Hinkle's ruling could not be held criminally liable for doing so because they would not have the required specific criminal intent.”

“[S]ince county clerks are 'in active concert and participation' with the named parties in Brenner … clerks who fail to comply with that order may be held in contempt of court,” the memo added.