Let’s face it – the whole idea of marriage equality is a mess in Florida right now. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court paving the way for legal same-sex marriage to come to the Sunshine State Jan. 6, clerks are saying they won’t issue licenses because they fear prosecution and many couples happy plans are now fraught with uncertainty.
There is, however, some good news – couples legally married out of state will have their marriages recognized at the end of the day Jan. 5, when the stay on Judge Hinkle’s ruling that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional expires.
Additionally, couples who travel to the Panhandle and marry in Washington County will also be legally married with full, statewide recognition. That’s because Hinkle’s ruling definitely applies to Washington County – the uncertainty stems from whether it applies across the state.
“Our legal team firmly believes that the answers to those questions are yes and yes,” said Orlando attorney and LGBT activist Mary Meeks, when asked about couples already legally married and couples who marry in Washington County. “Of course we can’t predict what Pam Bondi’s position will be, but we sincerely hope that she will not continue to engage in baseless litigation in futile attempts to deny Florida’s same-sex couples their constitutional rights.”
Meeks is part of the legal team behind the lawsuit filed back in January on behalf of Equality Florida Institute Inc. and six gay couples in Miami-Dade. The lawsuit claims that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.