Grayson: Don’t Prosecute Clerks Who Issue Gay Marriage Licenses

December 23, 2014

(UPDATE: ASHTON CAVES!) Intervention: Congressman Alan Grayson and Osceola commissioner step in on gay marriage."State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton informed the Clerks of Courts in Orange and Osceola counties today that his office will not prosecute them for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the ban is lifted on January 6th."


Maybe it's the holiday crunch and the associated number of days people will be drinking outside of the office – or perhaps because it's a huge and necessary battle about why equality matters in this state and nationwide – but the developments in Florida's gay marriage conundrum are happening almost every hour on the hour. Yesterday, we reported that Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin was seeking some clarity from the courts on whether he was actually going to be able to issue marriage licenses on Jan. 6, seeing as, well, the marriage ban is unconstitutional in every way possible, and the U.S. Supreme Court has denied U.S. Attorney General Pam Bondi a stay on the issuance of licenses next month. Many of the state's 67 county clerks, though, fear legal retribution, thanks to a discredited report from advisers to the state clerks association. Last night, the same advisers stood their ground, stating that clerks should still avoid being kind to the gays, because, oh no, slaps on wrists or whatever.

This morning (or maybe last night?), U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson, our congressman who actually loves the gays, joined with Osceola County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb in turning up the heat on Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton on the issue of pressing charges against clerks issuing licenses to same sex couples. Ashton, you see, is characteristically playing the issue safe and down the middle. Yesterday he issued a statement via spokeswoman saying: "The State Attorney does not announce in advance which cases he will prosecute. If he receives a complaint, that complaint will be investigated and evaluated, as other complaints are, and a charging decision will be made at the appropriate time."


Grayson and Grieb contend that this is all a violation of the Federal Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, because that's exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court said last year.

Read the whole story here. And here’s a link to Gryason’s letter to Ashton.