The New Year brought fabulous news from federal district court Judge Robert L. Hinkle confirming his marriage ruling in a new order stating that clerks of all Florida counties must issue marriage licenses to gay & lesbian couples after his stay expires at the stroke of midnight on January 6th. Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida stated, “We believe Judge Hinkle's order was clear from the beginning. We are pleased that he has put an end to the unnecessary confusion caused by a misguided legal memo by a private law firm. We look forward to January 6th when couples who have waited for this day can finally be married, & those of us married elsewhere are finally able to fully protect our families.” Last August Judge Hinkle ruled that Florida’s laws barring gay & lesbian couples from marriage violate the equal protection & due process requirements of the federal Constitution & stayed his ruling until January 5, 2015. Both the Eleventh Circuit & the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently denied the State of Florida’s request to extend the stay.
Anti gay opponents attempted to prevent gay & lesbian couples from marrying on January 6th by threatening criminal prosecution of clerks who issued marriage licenses but this ruling by Judge Hinkle ends the madness for our LGBT community in the Sunshine State.
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