Now 14 Florida Counties Stopped Doing Marriages

Now 14 Florida Counties Stopped Doing Marriages January 7, 2015

The total number of counties in the state of Florida that have changed their policies to eliminate all courthouse weddings has gone from 3 to 14, nearly all of them in the northern part of the state near the Alabama and Georgia borders. Some of them are actually pretending that it has nothing to do with gay weddings.

To comply with the judge’s ruling, clerks have said they will issue marriage licenses. But in recent weeks and months, the majority of clerks in the conservative Panhandle have chosen to stop performing courthouse weddings.

Some said their offices were too cramped and they had too few employees to continue the tradition. Others blamed shrinking budgets that forced them to shift resources.

“Being a very small county, our staff numbers are very low and workload is quite high,” said Holmes County Clerk of Court Kyle Hudson. “Therefore, we will not be performing ceremonies for any couples, regardless of sexual preference.”

Nearly all of them have changed their policies since August, when U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

Funny how their staff and offices weren’t too small until gay people got the right to get married. What a coinkydink!

Several clerks, including Okaloosa County’s J.D. Peacock II, have acknowledged that Hinkle’s decision played a major role in their decisions.

“I do not want to have members of our team put in a situation which presents a conflict between their personal religious beliefs and the implementation of a contentious societal philosophy change,” Peacock wrote recently in a memo to his staff.

So why didn’t you do this to avoid having any of your staff have to perform interracial or interreligious marriages? Oh yeah, because it’s still okay to be anti-gay, but not racist. That needs to change.

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  • hunter

    How’s that for standing up for your beliefs?

    What it boils down to is: “After consultation with our legal advisors, we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t refuse to marry only same-sex couples, as that would get us sued.”

  • As the saying goes, the further north you go in Florida, the further South you get.

  • Doug Little

    Sounds like an opening for someone to get ordained and just perform the ceremonies in the lobby, as a public service.

  • colnago80

    Having resided for 2 1/2 years in Tallahassee, I can state that the Panhandle of Florida is a continuation of Alabama and Georgia.

  • Doug Little “Sounds like an opening for someone to get ordained and just perform the ceremonies in the lobby, as a public service.”

    An actual Gay Lobby?

  • scienceavenger

    They don’t call it Florabama for nothing.

  • I live in columbia county, north florida. Ted Yoho’s district. Calling the people here idiots is an insult to idiots.

  • flatlander100

    I’ve heard the panhandle called “baja Alabama.”

  • bmiller

    Whatchootalkin about, flatlander?

    “baja” is one of them Messican words.

    I cannot see a Panhandler (what a great term for the region’s rewsidents!) using such a word!

  • Doug Little

    Modus @5,

    An actual Gay Lobby?

    With a little decorating, maybe.

  • Could they have refused to marry someone that had been divorced because of their Catholic beliefs?

  • cptdoom

    Well, the mayor of Tallahassee, which is still holding courthouse marriages, lost no time in inviting couples in the other counties to come to his city for their marriages (and give his city the associated fees).

    At midnight tonight, most of the state of Florida will take a collective step towards complete equality by affording people the right to marry whomever they choose. I am disheartened, however, by the decision of several counties around Florida to discontinue the opportunity for people to have courthouse marriage ceremonies. In light of these unfortunate announcements, I would like to extend an invitation to the loving couples of Duval, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Baker, Clay, Pasco, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty, Franklin, and Wakulla Counties to hold their marriage ceremonies here in the Capital City.


  • Doug Little “With a little decorating, maybe.”

    It’s the second thing on their Agenda, between “Sangria” and “Appletinis”.

  • eric

    @12: he’s a Dem, he can do that without killing his poitical ambitions.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Down here in Gainesville, I know a number of people who are either notaries or ministers of some sect or another, who are looking forward to making extra money because not only gays, but straights will be coming here to get married. Of course, there will be more people coming to OUR courthouse to get married, also (Alachua County) That’ll help the more liberal counties (or less conservative) and wind up hurting the bigoted counties. There’s been talk that their business may drop so much that they may wind up laying off some employees from the courthouse.

    Talk about cutting off your nose to spite yourself!

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD “Down here in Gainesville, I know a number of people who are either notaries or ministers of some sect or another…”

    Small world. Back when I lived in Gainesville, my church was the First Church of One Sect or Another. As with other churches In the late 70s, sadly, the conservatives took it over, renaming it the First Church of One Sect and No Other.

  • Doug Little

    Modus @13,

    Sounds like a party. Of course there has to be some fabulous people being fabulous sprinkled in there as well.

  • And thus the bigots prophecy of the destruction of traditional marriage being destroyed begins.

  • When my wife and I got married as atheists in Southern Georgia, just above Jacksonville, FL, it was an amazing hassle. The county kept insisting we had to use a minister (“Just pick a church,” became their standard answer). They refused to help us get anybody certified. We finally found a judge to marry us, but only in his cramped office standing beside a taxidermy black bear while he wore a Harley Davidson T-shirt. He was a very nice guy, though.

    Once we were legal, we were able to have our big ol’ godless marriage ceremony in the city’s nice new waterfront park.