If Florida Counties Have To Marry The Gays, They Just Won't Marry Anyone. Happy Now, The Gays?
So now that the Supreme Court has crammed marriage equality down Florida's throat, some Florida counties are responding with a move that seems almost reflexive for Southern states that don't want to have the wrong people's "civil rights" forced upon them. Rather than perform same-sex marriages, the clerks of the court for five Florida counties have decided that they just plain won't perform any marriage ceremonies at their courthouses anymore:
If same-sex marriage is allowed, Duval Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell, Clay Clerk Tara Green and Baker Clerk Stacie Harvey will have no choice but to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But to avoid performing ceremonies for them, these clerks have decided to end all courthouse weddings.
In addition, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa county clerks also made similar announcements.
This should sound familiar to lovers of Southern Politics. It's pretty much like when Virginia shut down a bunch of public schools rather than comply with Brown v. Board of Education, although if the Florida folks were really committed to doing it up right, they'd stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.
Needless to say, it's not really about discrimination, no, not at all. There were "other factors" that went into the decision as well, and the clerks also say that regardless of whether any last-minute appeals make marriage equality go away forever, they are just done with marrying people at their courthouses. Not because they hate gay people or anything, just because they can't stomach the idea of standing there and watching gay people get married right in front of them like normal people:
Fussell says the decision came after a series of discussion with members of his staff who currently officiate wedding ceremonies. None of them, including Fussell, felt comfortable doing gay weddings so they decided to end the practice all together, he said.
"It was decided as a team, as an office, this would be what we do so that there wouldn't be any discrimination," Fussell said. "The easiest way is to not do them at all."
See? No discrimination! Just like when Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin dealt with the issue of same-sex couples in the National Guard by ending all services for military spouses.
In an astonishingly generous gesture, the clerks of St. Johns and Putnam counties will continue to allow weddings in their courthouses, even for those people, although Putnam County Clerk of Courts Tim Smith said that if any members of his staff are uncomfortable around sodomites, they won't be required to marry them. Or even perform their wedding ceremonies.
Baker County Clerk Stacie Harvey came up with a very plausible reason for not doing Pervert Weddings at the courthouse. Suddenly, the court desperately needs the room where they used to do weddings for people to fill out paperwork in domestic violence cases. That's a worthy cause, and nobody could possibly take issue with it, as she very clearly explained:
"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."
See? Not about the gay stuff at all. It's all about efficient use of space, you bet.
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