Three Florida counties have ended all courthouse weddings to avoid marrying same-sex couples. Duval, Clay and Baker counties have decided that “multiple factors,” with gay marriage being one of them, contributed to the decision to end all courthouse weddings, in case US District judge Robert Hinkle rules to make gay marriage legal in all of Florida. As of January 1, 2015, a federal judge ruled that all county clerks should start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Slate adds:
Because these clerks still have a legal duty to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, this move won’t have any serious practical effects. Rather, it’s one final opportunity for anti-gay clerks to degrade same-sex couples—on what should be the happiest day of their lives. Duval County Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell, who championed canceling courthouse weddings, told the Florida Times-Union that he believes gay people should be legally forbidden from getting married and that performing a same-sex wedding ceremony “would go against my beliefs.” Accordingly, he decided to end all courthouse weddings for all couples, “so that there wouldn’t be any discrimination.”
Jacksonville.com adds that there were 1,911 wedding ceremonies performed at the Duval County Courthouse in 2013, compared to 6,342 marriage licenses issued. About 330 Clay County couples are married at its courthouse each year, and Baker averages about 30.
Other Florida counties who are considering the same move include Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County.