Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

3 things to know about same-sex marriage in Florida today

As of Tuesday, gay couples will be permitted to get married in Florida. Here are three things to know:

Want to get married?

Florida law requires a three-day wait between when a couple applies for a marriage license and when they can have a wedding ceremony. Couples who complete a four-hour marital counseling course can skip the waiting period and save money on a license. The courses can be taken in person or online.

Same sex couples who complete the counseling course in advance could get married Tuesday, after the federal court stay expires. Deputy clerks can perform marriage ceremonies at the clerk's office.

Both spouses must apply for the license in person. They need a picture ID such as a driver's license, state ID card, or valid passport. Both parties will also have to provide their Social Security numbers, but do not need to provide their Social Security Cards, according to the state website. No blood tests are required.

The license costs $93.50, but that can be reduced by up to $32.50 if the couple completes the pre-marital course.

Licenses are valid for 60 days, and the wedding ceremony can take place in any county, not just the one where the license is issued.

What are clerks of court expected to do Tuesday?

Many are gearing up to issue licenses to gay couples and perform wedding ceremonies on Tuesday after the federal stay ends. Hillsborough clerk Pat Frank, for instance, said her office will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday but may stay open past 5 p.m. to accommodate couples who want to get married. Ken Burke, the Pinellas clerk, said he will open his office at 8 a.m. Tuesday and issue licenses.

The Pasco County clerk will issue licenses but will not perform any marriage ceremonies for gay or straight couples.

Several clerks offices plan to be open at midnight Monday to start marrying couples immediately after the court stay expires. The Osceola County clerk's office, for instance, will be open from midnight to 2 a.m. Tuesday and expects a large crowd. The clerks' office in Monroe, which includes Key West, also might open at midnight.

What about weddings?

A handful of Florida county clerks said they will stop offering all courthouse wedding ceremonies to avoid performing those ceremonies for same-sex couples. The clerks of court in Duval, Clay and Baker counties said they will have no choice but to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, they have decided to end all courthouse weddings to avoid performing those ceremonies for same-sex couples, among other reasons. The clerks in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties also have made similar announcements.

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