Main | Saturday, January 03, 2015

FLORIDA: Fourteen Counties Will End All Weddings Rather Than Serve Gays

Yesterday we thought the number was only five counties. Via the Tampa Bay Times:
To comply with the judge's ruling, clerks have said they will issue marriage licenses. But in recent weeks and months, the majority of clerks in the conservative Panhandle have chosen to stop performing courthouse weddings. Some said their offices were too cramped and they had too few employees to continue the tradition. Others blamed shrinking budgets that forced them to shift resources."Being a very small county, our staff numbers are very low and workload is quite high," said Holmes County Clerk of Court Kyle Hudson. "Therefore, we will not be performing ceremonies for any couples, regardless of sexual preference."

Nearly all of them have changed their policies since August, when U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee ruled the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Several clerks, including Okaloosa County's J.D. Peacock II, have acknowledged that Hinkle's decision played a major role in their decisions. "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," Peacock wrote recently in a memo to his staff.

Although there is no authoritative list of the Florida counties that have stopped offering courthouse weddings, the counties that confirmed their decisions to the Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets include: Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty, Franklin, Wakulla, Baker, Clay, Duval and Pasco. According to Bay County's website, it no longer offers marriage ceremonies, though it is unclear when that policy was changed. The clerk of court did not respond to a request for comment.
All fourteen counties are in the Panhandle or northeast Florida except Pasco County, which is just above Tampa.

Labels: , ,

comments powered by Disqus