As of 12:01 AM on Tuesday Jan. 6, same-sex marriage in Florida will be legal.
Beginning as soon as January 6, 2015 same-sex couples can be issued marriage licenses for the first time in Florida. Months ago, federal district court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that disallowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. On Janurary 1, 2015, he confirmed that his same-sex marriage ruling applies to all 67 Florida counties, and therefore all counties should be issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses.
Since views about same-sex marriage in the county clerks of court is a combination between personal conviction as well as logistics, it has made some counties evaluate whether they want to continue to offer marriage ceremonies. At this time, a handful of counties have chosen to only issue marriage licenses and eliminate courthouse ceremonies. Duval, Clay and Baker counties have discountinued courthouse marriage ceremonies, indicating that although the changing situation with same-sex marriage was involved in their decision, there were other factors involved in the decision. Since some clerks may feel it goes against their personal beliefs to perform these ceremonies, some counties will allow clerks to individually decline performing a ceremony if they feel uncomfortable. For instance, in Putnam county, clerks can decline to perform marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples, but nobody has indicated that they would decline to perform such a ceremony at this time. However, the legal counsel for the county clerks of court advises the clerks to follow the judge’s ruling or face possible consequences. Pam Bondi, who has fought against same-sex marriage has indicated that her office will not intervene further in the matter. Her statement, along with the Judge’s clarification of his ruling eliminates the possibility of further delaying same-sex couples from being issued marriage licenses.
Regardless of whether you are a same-sex couple or not, taking an approved premarital course will allow you to skip the 3-day waiting period and receive a discount of $32.50 off of your marriage license.