Anti-gay group sues Orange County Clerk

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – Florida Family Action, a group notorious for its opposition to marriage equality, is suing the Orange County Clerk to try to make her stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

FFA filed their emergency alternative writ of mandamus Jan. 15 in the 9th Circuit Court of Orange County. The plaintiffs want a judge to command Orange County Clerk Tiffany Moore Russell “to perform her ministerial duty not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.”

The filing argues that the August ruling by a federal judge in Washington County that overturned Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage only applies to the Washington County couple named in that case. This argument is in spite of the fact that the judge clarified his ruling on New Year’s Day 2015 and stated that it applies statewide.

The lawsuit was filed by the Liberty Counsel, the anti-gay legal arm of FFA, and John Stemberger, FFA president and notorious anti-gay activist.

“The Clerk will continue to both issue licenses and provide marriage ceremony services to all of Orange County’s citizens regardless of orientation until and unless directed otherwise by the courts,” said Nicholas Shannin, General Counsel to Tiffany Moore Russell. “The filing of this lawsuit, again, by this organization does not alter the determination by the Clerk to continue to provide these services unabated.”

The Orange County  Clerk’s office released a statement pointing out that the FFA has already filed a complaint against the Orange County Clerk regarding marriage licenses, and the new lawsuit contains many verbatim, duplicate arguments, despite the fact that on Jan. 8, Circuit Court Judge Hofstad shot down the originally filed complaint as “moot.”

“My obligation is to follow the law under the United States and Florida Constitutions,” Clerk Russell said in the statement from her office. “Judge Hinkle specifically certified his ruling and, based on that clarification, all 67 County Clerks throughout the State of Florida have followed his interpretation of the United States Constitution and provided marriage licenses to all applicants.”

Read the lawsuit: emrg-alt-writ-mandamus-1-15-15

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