Tuesday, January 06 Florida Becomes a Marriage Equality State
It's a day I had despaired would never come before the other 49 states recognized marriage equality. I still have my concerns the legal wrangling here is not quite over, but I do think it will be the last gasp of the desperate and losing side in this civil rights struggle.
After officiating over 500 weddings and commitment ceremonies, I am so honored to solemnize the marriage of two dear friends who have been together for decades right here on our home state. They had a civil union ceremony in Vermont eons ago, but Florida of course never recognized their commitment. I'm getting mixed messages from my county's Clerk of Courts regarding the issuing of the license, but I'm hopeful he will reverse last week's stated position now that Judge Hinkle clarified his ruling. Please, please, don't turn my friends away on Tuesday.
From these posts below in 2008-09 to today has been an incredible journey. I look forward to the day it's ho hum business as usual at any courthouse in the nation.
It's a shame that this always has to be decided by the courts instead of realistic, humane, and caring legislators.
Still, I'm glad of any wins on this basic human right.
It simply means that all couples will have to obtain their own officiant rather than utilize the convenience of a clerk at the courthouse for the solemnization step of the process.
Because of it's attractiveness as a destination wedding location and the fact that Florida is one of the few states that authorizes notaries public to solemnize marriage, independent officiants abound and are not hard to find at all.
I'm ordained clergy (formerly UU) and would gladly stand across the street from the courthouse and officiate weddings all day long for free this week.
It's from a guide created in 1999 for notaries public so it is out of date as of tomorrow: http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/notary/wedding_handbook.pdf
One thing that can speed things up and save money is to get premarital counseling. With that, there is no waiting period and they save money on the license:
Yes. Effective January 1, 1999, there is a 3-day delay in the effective date of the marriage license if the couple does not participate in a premarital preparation course meeting the requirements specified in law and whose provider is registered with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Exceptions to the delayed effective date must be granted to non-Florida residents seeking a marriage license from the state and for individuals asserting hardship who have been granted a waiver by a county court judge.
What is the county/state fee for obtaining a marriage license?
Florida law specifies that the marriage license fee is $88.50. For all couples who complete the premarital preparation course, there is a reduction of $32.50, making the marriage license cost $56.00 for these couples.
out-of-state residents who come to Florida. I'm wondering if we'll see some cross border situations from Georgia and Alabama.
I'm a registered marital preparation course provider, so meeting with my friends to take care of that was no problem. There is also a secular on-line course that Central Freethought is trying to disseminate that meets the statute's requirements.
Yes, that guide is very dated. The license fee has been $93.50 for quite a number of years now.
Even if they have to go outside the area to find someone to perform the ceremony. I wasn't too worried about access to counseling - even in 1999 that guide mentioned online resources!
But I expect there are qualified people in the area willing to perform same sex ceremonies. For instance, in Panama City there is a very active Unitarian Church - in many parts of the country Unitarian ministers have been willing to marry same sex couples. I don't know about the current minister in PC - my MIL used to be very active there and would have known, but she has been unable to attend regularly for many years and is out of touch.
Just out of curiosity, are you in the Panhandle? I'm outside of Tallahassee, so in the Big Bend.
To extend their stays! Sort of like Reno used to be noted for people having to stay there to establish residency for getting a divorce - apparently that used to be Reno's main money maker years ago.
Ah - the Space Coast! I grew up in Bartow and my Mom still lives there. Lots of times when we visit her we go to the coast for bird watching. We're thinking of going down at the end of this month and might make a day trip to Merritt Island NWR. Mom would enjoy the drive and the bird watching, especially since at Merritt Island she can do the bird watching from the car. At 93 she's not up to much hiking!