Target: Duval Co. Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell, Clay Co. Clerk Tara Green and Baker Co. Clerk Stacie Harvey
Goal: Don’t refuse to perform courthouse marriages due to upcoming expiration of Florida’s gay marriage ban
Federal judge Robert L. Hinkle declared Florida’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in August 2014, setting January 6, 2015 as the date on which gay couples across the state can apply for marriage licenses. Despite the efforts of Republican state Attorney General Pam Bondi, Hinkle’s ruling is expected to take effect as planned. However, reactionary Clerks of Courts in multiple Florida counties have found their own way to resist marriage equality: by refusing to perform any marriages at county courthouses.
Ronnie Fussell of Duval County, Tara Green of Clay County and Stacie Harvey of Baker County announced that their offices will cease to perform marriages at county courthouses with the beginning of 2015. Despite claims that the prospect of performing gay marriages in only a matter of days is only one of several factors in this decision, it is obvious that the move is meant to target gay and lesbian couples.
Fussell claims that, after a discussion with his staff members who perform marriages, they came to the decision to refuse all marriages because none felt comfortable marrying gay couples. This is blatant discrimination and Fussell, Green and Harvey need to be held accountable for allowing their personal beliefs to infringe on the civil rights of their constituents. Sign below to demand that these clerks allow courthouse marriages for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Dear Clerks Fussell, Green and Harvey,
It is very disappointing and disheartening that you have decided to end the long-running practice of performing courthouse marriages in your respective counties with only days left until the expiration of Florida’s gay marriage ban.
While the argument can be made that gay marriage is only one of several issues which led to this decision, allowing gay marriage to have any sway over this decision is clearly and blatantly discriminatory. Rather than cooperate with the extension of basic rights to a disenfranchised segment of the population, you have chosen to simply eliminate the option of courthouse marriages for all, thereby choosing to punish gay and straight couples alike.
Your decision to put your personal or religious beliefs before the well being of your neighbors and constituents is selfish and shallow–as a public servant, it is your responsibility to serve the public and look to improve the quality of life for all people in your county.
Please reconsider your decision and reopen the option of courthouse marriages for straight and gay couples.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Benson Kua via Wikipedia