Two weeks ago, a good day was had in Florida. A Federal judge ruled that Florida's stupid ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
That's a word conservatives love to use, but only with legal executive orders or lawful bills that become law which they don't like. When it's something that truly is "unconstitutional", but permitted them to discriminate, they defend it no matter how reprehensible.
Rick Scott's personal, extraordinarily corrupt Attorney General went bananas over the ruling. Wasn't she and Rick in charge of everything? They have already spent a small fortune in taxpayer money fighting same-sex marriage and lost every time. Immediately after the ruling, Pam "I have friends who are gay so it's all cool" Bondi tried to demand a request for an extended stay on the now illegal ban and was instantly shot down by a Florida Judicial Court judge.
Undeterred, Bondi has now filed an "emergency stay" with the US Supreme Court. Given their past rulings, that will fail miserably too but Pam Bondi is left grasping at straws. (UPDATE: SCOTUS denied the stay 7-2)
It's over. The fat lady is singing. Aging bigots are the only ones left cheering Bondi on with this quixotic quest, and now she has nowhere to go. Legal experts have already weighed in saying that because the law was ruled unconstitutional, county clerks of court can start issuing marriage licenses when the stay expires after midnight on January 6.
However, this being Florida, and in true GOP fashion, the Tallahassee teabags who run our government are going to be dicks about this all the way to the end.
In what can only be described as appalling, the Tallahassee-based lawfirm, Greenberg Traurig, which represents the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, sent out a memo designed to intimate all 67 Clerks of Court saying that anyone who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple will be "committing a misdemeanor" punishable up to one year in jail.
This has got to be the most tortured legal logic I've ever heard. The memo argued that even though the Federal court ruled the state law was unconstitutional, it only applies to one county "where the original ruling was made".
Lemme get this right. A state law is ruled unconstitutional, but the decision by the Circuit Court was meant for just one county and not all the others because....well, we're Florida. Oh, and we'll arrest you for not following this discarded law.
Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, called the prospect of clerks being arrested ludicrous.
"Are local officials seriously preparing to arrest and criminally charge county clerks for enforcing a federal judge's order? That's preposterous."
"When a federal judge declares a law unconstitutional, all public officials should cease enforcing that law. Period," he said in a written statement.
Attorneys are justifiably outraged. Attorney Sasha Westerman-Keuning said criminal prosecutions would indeed be a real abuse of power, but unfortunately, that never stopped anyone here before.
Besides, if the goal of the memo was to intimidate, it has worked beautifully. Osceola County had planned to allow the Kissimmee clerk's office to open one minute after midnight to allow couples in, but after the memo was released they cancelled.
My advice? Every same-sex couple that wants to get married in Florida should be at Washington County's Clerk Office on Tuesday morning, January 6: 1293 Jackson Ave Ste 100, Chipley, FL 32428. You will have to drive through Tallahassee so make sure your car is decked out in streamers, cans, and a nice big "Getting Married" sign --- with the added words "get used to it, Pam".