A conservative group in Florida sued a county clerk of courts, Orlando’s mayor and a judge on Tuesday in an attempt to stop them from helping same-sex marriages take place next week after a ban is lifted.
The lawsuits filed by the Florida Family Action, Inc. asked a judge to prevent the officials from either officiating or issuing marriage licenses to gay couples starting next week when Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is scheduled to expire.
The officials named in the lawsuits are Osceola County Clerk of Court Armando Ramirez, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Circuit Judge Robert LeBlanc, ABC News reported.
The conservative group argued that lifting Florida state’s ban on same-sex marriage applies only to Washington County in the Panhandle – where the legal challenge originated – and not elsewhere.
Ramirez is the only Florida clerk of courts outside of Washington County who has publicly said he plans to issue licenses to same-sex couples, according to a survey of clerk of courts done by The Associated Press last week.
Dyer and LeBlanc have said they plan to officiate at same-sex weddings on Jan. 6, the day Florida’s ban on gay marriages is set to be lifted.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. He stayed his ruling, a stay that is set to expire on Jan. 5. The association that represents county clerks said the ruling only applies in Washington County, and an overwhelming majority of Florida Clerks in the survey conducted by the Associated Press said they won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until they have further clarification that it is legal.
Gay rights groups disputed the association’s interpretation, saying the ruling applies to all 67 clerks.
In a brief filed late Monday, Attorney General Pam Bondi didn’t offer a clear opinion on who is right in the battle. If Hinkle intends the ruling is applied state-wide, he should “provide appropriate clarification,” the brief said.
“This court is best situated to determine the reach of its own order,” stated the filing made by Allen Winsor, the state’s solicitor general, on behalf of Bondi.