The firm of Greenberg Traurig, legal counsel to the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, this week updated a memo it sent July 1 that says the same thing: If you issue a marriage license to two people of the same sex [outside of Washington County], you've committed a first-degree misdemeanor and could spend a year in the county jail.
At first, this seems, well, normal. But that's only because I haven't told you something rather important just yet...
...Jacksonville lawyers representing Stephen Schlairet and Ozzie Russ, a same-sex Washington County couple who, along with several others, convinced U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee to overturn Florida's ban on same-sex marriage in August.
He imposed a stay, however, to give the state time to appeal. Two weeks ago, when the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state's request to extend the stay beyond Jan. 5, gay-rights activists began planning celebrations for what many believe will be a flood of same-sex-marriage applications Jan. 6.
You'll notice a little something about those words I've bolded up there. Can you guess what it is, kids?
That's right! These are federal courts, not local courts, dealing with a state law. That means that the decision is binding on all of the counties in Florida, not just the county that the case happened in, especially considering that we're dealing with a state law being struck down, and not just a county law. Y'see kids, the order of supremacy goes like this: The county can do whatever the fuck it wants, so long as it doesn't override a state law, which can do whatever it wants, so long as it doesn't override a federal law. And court decisions act as law in the jurisdictions they apply in. So federal law and court decisions trump state which trumps county. This is fucking high-school civics, which means that even people who - like me - aren't lawyers can tell you that the lawyers here are either being fucking stupid, or fucking evil. Take your pick. I'm not sure which one brings me more comfort.