The fight to prevent gay marriage from becoming legal in Florida received a boost Tuesday from one of the state's most prominent law firms, which advised court clerks they could face misdemeanor charges if they issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Greenberg Traurig, the law firm for the association representing Florida's 67 court clerks, warned that a federal judge's ruling overturning the state ban on gay marriage only applies to one Panhandle county, Washington County, the only place named in the lawsuit. According to the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, clerks in all other counties are not bound by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's ruling in August that the gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.
If followed, the law firm's guidance could set Florida on the same path as Kansas, where multiple judges have dissolved the state's same-sex marriage ban, but some clerks in more rural areas have refused to issue licenses to gay couples.
Hinkle put a hold on his ruling until the end of the day Jan. 5, which the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend. That led many gay marriage advocates to proclaim that licenses could be issued around the state beginning Jan. 6.
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Meanwhile, SDGLN reported Tuesday that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whose votes are decidedly against gay marriage, late on Tuesday called for a response to Florida's emergency petition to extend a stay to prevent the issuance of marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who want to marry.
Justice Thomas set a deadline of 5 pm Thursday, Dec. 18 for a response from the parties involved.
To read that story, click HERE.