While agreeing to issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples as per a federal court ruling, several counties throughout Florida have decided to no longer allow weddings to be held at their courthouses in order to avoid being required to officiate homosexual ceremonies.
According to reports, officials in Duval, Clay and Baker counties have concluded that they must discontinue utilizing the county courthouse for weddings altogether to protect the rights of conscience for their clerks.
“I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Duvall County Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell, a Southern Baptist, told the Associated Press. “Personally it would go against my beliefs to perform a ceremony that is other than that.”
Baker County Clerk Stacie Harvey stated that the room that had been used for weddings will now be used for domestic violence injunctions.
“I needed the space, and our county, we’re in the Bible Belt,” she said. “If we’re made by the law to issue a gay marriage license [we will] do that, but we are not mandated to marry couples in our courthouse.”
As previously reported, in August of last year, U.S District Judge Robert Hinkle declared Florida’s marriage amendment, which enshrined marriage as being solely between a man and woman, as unconstitutional.
“Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized,” the amendment reads.
Hinkle compared uniting those of the same gender with marriages between men and women of different racial backgrounds, and said that society must tolerate that with which they disagree.
“Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage,” he opined. “Tolerating views with which one disagrees is a hallmark of civilized society.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi filed several appeals about the matter, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a stay on the ruling, which permitted licenses to be issued beginning on Jan. 6. The state also awaited a ruling from Hinkle as to whether his decision applied statewide or only to a specific county.
On Thursday, Hinkle ordered all county clerks within the state to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses–a directive that clerks in Duvall, Clay and Baker, as well as others, state that they will comply with. However, since county courthouses are not required to be used for marital ceremonies, they will discontinue the practice altogether to avoid being compelled to officiate homosexual events.
But some would say that the clerks should resist the order to issue the licenses as well, exercising the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.
As previously reported, talk show host and former pastor Mike Huckabee stated in September during a conference call with the organization Vision America that Christians need to be more active in resisting evil in the land.
“I would remind people that the judicial branch is not the supreme branch, and the Supreme Court is only the Supreme Court, not the Supreme Being,” he said. “And I feel that we have failed in civics to understand that there are three branches of government, and one can’t overrule the other two, and all three of them together can’t overrule the people.”
“Yet, we have people who say, … ‘The courts have ruled on same-sex marriage, we have to live with it,’” Huckabee continued. “I would suggest no, we don’t. We shouldn’t just accept things that are ungodly and that will cause us to have to stand before God with bloody hands. I think that’s where we’ve failed.”