Saturday, January 03, 2015

Fourteen Florida Counties Will End All Courthouse Weddings Rather Than Serve Gays

The mindset that lead to the persecution of Alan Turing is alive and well in fourteen Florida counties which have announced that rather than conduct same sex marriages they will end ALL courthouse weddings.  The mindset is akin to that of Virginia's "Massive Resistance" where, rather than allow black children in white schools, counties closed all of the public schools (not coincidentally giving rise to a host of "Christian" academies).   As noted previously, in my view, the county clerks involved need to join the ranks of the unemployed.  No doubt these clerks are patting themselves on the back for their "godliness" and piety.  If you are traveling to Florida, make a point of avoiding these counties. Here are details from the Tampa Bay Times:
As gay marriage comes to Florida, Pasco County's clerk of court is among a growing number of clerks who are refusing to hold courthouse marriage ceremonies.   Rather than extend the practice to gay couples, they are ending it entirely.

From as far west as Santa Rosa County to as far east as Duval County, much of North Florida is opting out. But in the Tampa Bay area, home to the largest gay pride celebration in the southeastern United States, only the Pasco clerk has chosen that route.

Gay couples who wish to be married can get licenses, O'Neil said, but they have to find their own officiants.

As of Tuesday, the first day gay couples are permitted to wed, there will be large celebrations and ceremonies in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Key West. In Hillsborough County, Clerk of Court Pat Frank said that if her office is overwhelmed with couples hoping to marry, she will hold a large wedding in a downtown Tampa park at noon. She plans to waive the marital counseling class for those who want to be married on the same day they get their license.

[T]he majority of clerks in the conservative Panhandle have chosen to stop performing courthouse weddings. 

[T]he counties that confirmed their decisions to the Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets include: Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty, Franklin, Wakulla, Baker, Clay, Duval and Pasco. According to Bay County's website, it no longer offers marriage ceremonies . . . 

There are outliers in the north — Escambia [home of Pensacola], Leon, Jefferson, and Madison counties — where clerks say they are committed to performing ceremonies for all couples, gay or straight.

"I think it's going to be a super Valentine's Day," Escambia County Clerk of Court Pam Childers said. "We're expecting a huge influx next Tuesday."  Childers' offices have been deluged with phone calls from gay couples in Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana who are eager to exchange vows in Florida.

Rather than asking her employees if they were comfortable marrying gay couples, Childers said she flipped the question and asked for volunteers who wanted to help out.  "It really hasn't become an issue, we haven't made it issue," she said.

Kudos to Ms. Childers for her common sense approach.

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