Imagine going to jail for a year because you let a gay couple get married.
That’s the insane situation that Florida clerks will face in the first few days of 2015. It’s happening because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed marriage to start on January 6th, in accordance with a federal ruling a few months ago. But the law remains on the books, including the bizarrely stuff penalties for any clerk who issues a license to a gay or lesbian couple.
So now, the statewide association for clerks and comptrollers has warned its members that they could face a fine and jail time for allowing marriages to begin. (To be fair: they’re only following their lawyers’ advice. And those lawyers have in the past recommended that the state repeal its marriage ban.)
This is, obviously, completely nuts. Can you imagine the outcry if a SWAT team stormed into a wedding in a clerk’s office to arrest everyone? The outcry would be enormous. And yet, considering that it’s Florida, we wouldn’t rule out something so ludicrous. After all, this is the state that can’t seem to go five minutes without a machete attack, alligator-related crime, or someone getting their face eaten.
So now the big question is: will there be a clerk brave enough to make themselves the test case? And if they do, will some enterprising homophobic Sherriff take it upon himself or herself to raid the wedding? Stay tuned.