Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Federal Judge Says All Florida Clerks Have Duty To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

So, it's official. On Tuesday, January 6 at 12:01 a.m., gay marriage is legal in Florida (absent some intervention by the 11th Circuit or the Supremes). While Greenberg Traurig had previously advised the clerks not to issue the licenses, after the ruling by Judge Hinkle ruled that all Florida clerks have a duty under the Constitution to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

In a display of extreme douchebaggery and poor-loserdom, clerks in Duval, Baker, Clay, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties have decided to stop all marriage ceremonies in their offices, just so they don't get the gay cooties. That's right. They've decided to shirk their duty to all citizens of their counties because they don't like gay marriage. Boo-freaking-hoo. These guys go on my permanent Roll Of Shame, and their names will be on the wrong side of history, just like the idiots who tried to stop school integration in the 60s.

Some clerks have announced they will start issuing licenses at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. The clerks so far that have made such announcements include Broward and Osceola counties. Many other clerks have announced that they will comply with the order. I haven't heard of any who plan on outright refusing to issue the licenses, but stay tuned.

If you plan to get married on January 6 or 7, please take the 4 hour premarital course that is required, which you can do online or in person. There are quite a few online providers out there. Otherwise, you have a 3 day waiting period. For more on requirements for marriage licenses in Florida, check here and here. Your county clerk's website will also have information about the requirements and their hours. Please note that a license issued by any Florida clerk will let you marry anywhere in Florida, so if your clerk refuses, go to the next nearest county to get the license.

Why does it matter, employment law-wise? Well, it will affect Family And Medical Leave, pension, insurance, benefits, confidentiality, marital status discrimination, privilege, and tax filing status. Florida employers need to get on the phone or email their management-side employment lawyers ASAP to adjust policies and make sure they are in compliance with the laws.

Remember, employee-side lawyers like me are watching to make sure you obey the law and treat same-sex married couples with dignity.

Congratulations to everyone who is getting ready to tie the knot!


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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.