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admin | Category: Free Criminal Background Check Online | 12.12.2013
Equality Florida and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) issued a joint memo to Florida county court clerks Wednesday, advising them of their legal obligation under a federal ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The majority of clerks who responded to an Associated Press inquiry this week said they wouldn’t offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples without further clarification from the judge on whether his ruling applies beyond Washington County. By its terms, paragraph 4 [of the preliminary injunction] binds two Florida officials with statewide jurisdiction — the Secretary of the Department of Management Services and the Surgeon General — and “their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys — and others in active concert or participation with any of them — who receive actual notice of [the] injunction by personal service or otherwise.” The Attorney General of Florida is an attorney of record for the Secretary and Surgeon General in these actions. Florida county court clerks should follow Judge Hinkle’s ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning January 6, 2015. As of Wednesday, of the 53 clerks who responded to the AP iquiry, 46 said they wouldn’t grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they lack legal authority.
Only one clerk outside Washington County, Osceola County’s Armando Ramirez, said he would issue the licenses. The hearings come as gay marriage supporters have piled up legal victories in federal courts across the country this year, nullifying bans in more than a dozen states. The same day as the Chicago court ruled, 15 states that allow gay marriage and 17 that don't asked the U.S.

The pro-gay marriage rulings have used the rationale the nation's high court used in June 2013 when it invalidated the core of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman for determining federal benefits. Supporters of the bans in the three states before the 9th Circuit argue that state governments have an interest in promoting marriage between a man and a woman, which they say is optimal for childrearing. Opponents say there is no data supporting the childrearing contention and they argue that the marriage prohibitions are unconstitutional violations of equal protection rights. The case for gay marriage was bolstered when the court earlier this week unveiled the names of the three judges assigned to decide the issue in those three states. Nevada's defense of the ban has been taken up by a private organization called the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage. And in Hawaii, attorneys representing the Hawaii Family Forum, which opposes gay marriage, are asking the court to keep alive the forum's legal case even though state lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage in December.
Circuit Court of Appeals - all appointed by Democrats and two of whom joined in the civil rights ruling this year - are set to hear arguments Monday on gay marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. Same-sex marriage opponents, however, scored a legal victory last week when a federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state's ban.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement Friday, said it joined a friend-of-the-court brief asking the high court to hear Utah's marriage case. Lambda Legal says lawsuits are pending in most other states and Puerto Rico to invalidate same-sex marriage bans.
Brian Sandoval, a Republican seeking re-election this year, said the state would no longer fight a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Nevada's gay marriage band. Supreme Court also declined to block same-sex marriages in Florida from moving forward, a rare move considering the appeals court had not yet ruled on the challenge.

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