Same-sex Marriage in Florida

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There are a lot of news stories about this week’s recent change to Florida’s marriage laws which grant the right to marry to same-sex couples. There are many sources for people to get the long history of how marriage laws have changed in our United States in the past 10 to 15 years and there are millions of opinions on the subject. I am offering my thoughts because it is a subject that affects.

I am a Christian. I am a Wedding Officiant in Jacksonville, Florida. I do not want to get on a soap box or draw any lines in the sand, but would like to express my feelings about the decision by several county court clerks to stop performing weddings at their offices. Prior to January 6, 2015, Duval, Clay, Baker, Okalossa and Santa Rosa Counties had places in their offices decorated in wedding themes so they could provide a sweet setting for couples who wanted to get married at the courthouse – couples who could not afford a larger wedding, were in a hurry, or just wanted to elope quietly without fanfare. The clerks in those counties decided to do away with weddings completely because their personnel would be “uncomfortable” performing marriages for same-sex couples.

I am “uncomfortable” with this decision for several reasons, many of which get into religious views and doctrine that I am not willing to address in this blog. Most of my discomfort comes from these clerks determining what is “uncomfortable” when it is now, in fact, the law that same-sex couples be treated equally and who are permitted the rights and benefits of a legal marriage. Have they considered the “uncomfortable” position that two people who love each other have suffered by not being able to have their relationship recognized or validated? Did they consider the couples (same-sex or straight) that want to be together but cannot afford a large wedding; couples who may be in a hurry due to military orders, health or other reasons; couples who just want to marry quickly, quietly and without worry.

I think it was when one of the clerks mentioned “being in the bible belt” as a reason to stop performing marriages that I decided I was “comfortable” performing weddings for same-sex couples. My bible speaks of loving everyone, not judging others and the forgiveness of a multitude of sins by a loving and forgiving God.

I am not jumping on a bandwagon of political correctness and I take seriously my role in performing wedding ceremonies. I don’t really want to marry anyone who is not committed, those doing it for effect or “because they can,” but I am delighted to provide service to any couple devoted to being married and dedicated to putting forth all the love and effort marriage requires.

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