Florida Legalized Gay Marriage May Only Apply to Washington Co.

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WASHINGTON COUNTY-- After a judge ruled the ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional in Florida earlier this year, it's now being said the ruling only applies to Washington County.

Chipley residents Ozzie Russ and Steve Schlairet have been fighting for the right to marry for some time.

And earlier this year, they filed a lawsuit against the state after being denied the right to wed in Washington County.

"You have to do a lot more legal work in order to have the same rights," explained Schlairet. "The right to making medical decisions for each other that you shouldn't have to go to a lawyer in order to have permission to do that."

A federal judge agreed ruling the ban unconstitutional. Attorney General Pam Bondi and Washington County have appealed.

"What we have asked is that the Supreme Coutyto do is keep the stay in place, so that the arguments for and against can continue to be heard until there is no appeal process left. And then at that time go ahead and direct how we should be operating," said Washington County Attorney Jeff Goodman.

Expected to take effect on January 6th, the association representing Florida's Court Clerks stated the ruling will only apply to Washington County because it's the only county named in the lawsuit.

Schlairet disagrees.

"They totally ignored the fourth paragraph, which says that the person in charge of issuing marriage licenses for the State of Florida and all the employees who work for him cannot interfere," he explained.

As for the county's appeal, Goodman says the ruling will cause confusion.

"Washington County issuing these sorts of marriage licenses to proper applicants, but at the same time a neighboring county such as Holmes County and Jackson County not issuing these type license, it creates a somewhat confusing state," Goodman said.

The association also says clerk employees who issue an improper marriage license could face misdemeanor charges.