When we went to press with our Dec. 31 issue, we criticized Orange County Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell for her initial hesitance to commit to giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Jan. 6. We’ve been on holiday break since Dec. 23, and as we indicated in our piece, this has been a rapidly evolving story. Even after the Supreme Court refused to grant a stay that would allow Florida’s ban on gay marriage to remain in place beyond Jan. 5, the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers had advised the state’s county clerks – with the exception of one county in Florida’s Northern District where judge told the county that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional – not to issue licenses. According to the association, the ruling simply wasn’t binding outside of Washington County, where U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle had struck down the ban in August.
We’re pleased to tell you that two things have happened since then: First, Russell filed an emergency petition with the Circuit Court, asking for clarity on the matter. On Dec. 31, Circuit Court Judge Timothy Shea ruled that Hinkle’s decision could be considered “the law of Florida,” and Russell announced that she would indeed issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples next week. Thank you, Orange County Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell, for taking that step.
We’re also extra pleased to say that on New Year’s Day, Judge Hinkle himself clarified for the entire state that his ruling did not apply solely to Washington County. Clerks of Court across the state issue marriage license to same-sex couples beginning Jan. 6, though some are now saying that they will not offer courthouse weddings any longer as a result. We certainly hope that rule won’t stick.
Want to get married in Florida? There’s a three-day waiting period, unless you’ve got proof that you’ve completed a premarital prep course.
Which means you still have time to get a license before Jan. 6 if you act today.