Court clerks from around Florida will
begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples on
According to The
Gainesville Sun, the state's 67 clerks have agreed to
abide by a federal judge's order after holding a lengthy conference
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's
ruling declaring Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional takes
effect on Tuesday.
Requests by the state to stay the
ruling as the state pursues an appeal were denied by an appeals court
and the Supreme Court.
Despite those loses, Florida officials
continued to insist that Hinkle's ruling only applies to plaintiffs
involved in the case.
On Thursday, Hinkle clarified that his
ruling applied statewide and that clerks who continue to enforce the
ban risk breaking the law.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi gave
a halfhearted endorsement when she said that her office would not
“stand in the way as clerks of court determine how to proceed.”
The law firm Greenberg Traurig, which
had earlier advised clerks not a party to the litigation against
issuing such licenses starting next week, reversed course, saying
that it had advised all clerks to implement the ruling.
“Greenberg Traurig has advised the
Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers that clerks
should follow the judge's ruling for all marriage-license
applications or face the consequences identified by Judge Hinkle,”
the firm said in a statement.
However, as many as 14 counties in
Florida's conservative panhandle have decided to stop performing
courthouse weddings. The Tampa
Bay Times reported that nearly all of the counties
discontinued the practice after Hinkle struck down the ban in August.
(It was unclear when one county had implemented the change.)
“I do not want to have members of our
team put in a situation which presents a conflict between their
personal religious beliefs and the implementation of a contentious
societal philosophy change,” Okaloosa County Clerk J.D. Peacock II
said in a memo to his staff on the subject.