Liberty Counsel to Represent Florida Clerks Who Uphold Marriage Laws

Barb Wire

Liberty Counsel will defend-at no cost to taxpayers-any Florida court clerk who is sued for defending natural marriage.

ORLANDO — Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver is urging Florida court clerks to take the advice of their own legal counsel and uphold Florida’s marriage laws. In the 66 Florida counties that are not subject to a recent federal judge’s order ruling natural marriage unconstitutional, the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers has advised its members “to follow the advice of our legal counsel and not issue same-sex marriage licenses until a binding order is issued by a court of proper jurisdiction.”

“The legal counsel for the Florida clerks is absolutely correct,” said Staver. “No clerk outside of Washington County is bound by the federal judge’s ruling,” the letter from the legal counsel says, “and it would be a crime under Florida law for a clerk in any of those 66 other counties to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.” The attorneys who brought the federal suit, however, are already threatening to sue any Florida clerk who refuses to issue the illegal same-sex licenses. This prompted Staver to make the following offer: “Liberty Counsel will defend-at no cost to taxpayers-any Florida court clerk who is sued for upholding Florida’s marriage laws. Liberty Counsel will also defend any clerk in Washington County or elsewhere who, for conscience reasons, refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.”

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court stays the federal judge’s order, same-sex marriages will be permitted in Washington County on January 6, 2015. The Florida Attorney General has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the lower court order after the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend the stay beyond January 5. State court judges in four other counties also attempted to override Florida’s marriage laws, but those decisions are stayed indefinitely pending appeal. Florida’s Marriage Amendment preserving natural marriage between a man and a woman, passed in 2008 by 62.5% of Florida voters, remains the law in Florida, and clerks must not violate that law. Criminal penalties await any clerk who refuses to abide by the marriage laws that permit marriage licenses only for natural marriage between a man and a woman.

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Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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