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Who Gets a Gay Marriage License?

December 29th, 2014 by flanews

A judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage will allow for marriage licenses to be handed out next week, but for who? Matt Galka spoke with the couple who filed the lawsuit, and tells us county clerks of court don’t appear to be ready to hand licenses out to everyone, and the state will need to clarify that.

If you head to Chipley, Florida, population 3500, in Florida’s Panhandle, you’ll be in the middle of the state’s gay marriage debate. That’s where Ozzie Russ and Steve Schlairet live. The couple filed a successful lawsuit challenging the state’s gay marriage ban. Having their relationship officially recognized had never bean option in their 18 years together.

“It never crossed our mind to get married, because we thought what we had was as good as what they’ll allow us to have,” said Russ.

That will change for the two men on January 6th. They will be allowed to get a marriage license, but county clerks of court aren’t sure if it’s only them or everyone can. Clerks outside of their home in Washington County were advised by attorneys not to give them out or risk criminal penalty.

While Washington County will have to hand out the licenses, it wasn’t the couple’s intention to just be in it for themselves

“His injunction is mandatory for every clerk in the state of Florida and he’s now asking the defendants if they understand the order,” said Schlairet.

The judge who made the ruling ordered the state to respond by Monday and clarify where his ruling applies. While gay couples around Florida wait, the couple at the center is looking forward to officially tying the knot.

“I know when we do get married, the public can’t correct me and say ‘he’s not your husband,’ I can say ‘yes he is,'” said Russ.

Thousands of other Floridians are hoping they can say the same about their significant others.

The state’s Department of Management Services was asked to “explicitly set out the Secretary’s position on whether the preliminary injunction binds a Florida clerk of court.”

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