NCLR/Equality Florida to AG Bondi: Instruct ALL Agencies to Recognize Marriages
Equality Florida Sharon Kersten (954) 314.7288 / [email protected]
NCLR Erik Olvera (415) 994.3242 / [email protected]
NCLR Directs AG Pam Bondi to Immediately Advise ALL State Agencies
to Recognize Same-Sex Married Couples
On the heels of yesterday's historic lifting of Florida's discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, legal counsel for the plaintiffs in Pareto v Ruvin, sent the following letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi, calling on her to direct all state agencies to immediately recognize all married couples.
While clerks throughout the state are issuing licenses to same-sex couples, other agencies and institutions may not be in compliance, e.g., hospitals that may not realize that they must put the names of BOTH parents on a birth certificate, regardless of whether they are two fathers or two mothers.
January 5, 2015
The Honorable Pam Bondi
Attorney General of the State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Fax: (850) 410-2672
Adam S. Tanenbaum, Esq.
Charles Fahlbusch, Esq.
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Re: Requirement that Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Be Recognized by All
Dear Attorney General Bondi and Messrs. Tanenbaum and Fahlbusch:
As counsel for the Plaintiffs in Pareto v. Ruvin (11th Jud. Cir. Case No. 14-1661 CA 24), we write to request that your office immediately advise all state agencies in Florida that they are required under the orders issued by Judge Zabel on July 25, 2014 and January 5, 2015, and by Judge Hinkle on August 21, 2015 and January 1, 2015 in Brenner v. Scott (N.D. Fla. Case No. 4:14-cv-138-RHCAS), to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.
The State of Florida, represented by your office, intervened as a defendant in trial court proceedings in Pareto v. Ruvin and is therefore bound by Judge Zabel’s orders. Indeed, Judge Zabel’s July 25, 2014 Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (“July 25, 2014 Order”) states:
The State of Florida intervened in this case approximately one week prior to hearing on the instant motion for summary judgment. The State fully participated in the argument before this Court, presenting both a written response to the motion and an oral argument. July 25, 2014 Order at 3. Furthermore, in Brenner, Judge Hinkle’s August 21, 2015 order stated, on page 13, that, “[a]s the state defendants acknowledge, an order directed to the Secretary [of Public Health] . . . will be sufficient to provide complete relief.”
Judge Zabel’s July 25, 2014 Order declared that the prohibition on recognizing marriages of same-sex couples entered into in Florida that is contained in section 741.212, Florida Statutes, is “void and unenforceable.” Id. at 34 (emphasis in original). In that same order, Judge Zabel also ruled that Article 1, section 27 of Florida’s Constitution is void and unenforceable.” Id. (emphasis in original).
As a result of Judge Zabel’s declarations and today’s order lifting the previously entered stay, all agencies of the State of Florida are immediately required to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples entered into in Florida. In addition, because of Judge Hinkle’s preliminary injunction in Brenner, Florida officials must recognize the out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples beginningJanuary 6, 2015.
We urge your office immediately to advise all state agencies of these requirements. We also urge you to issue a public statement making clear that, as of today, the State of Florida will recognize for all purposes the marriages of same-sex couples. Because of urgent circumstances facing same-sex couples in Florida who are expecting babies just days from now, we particularly request that your office instruct the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to inform health care facilities that, if a child is born to married same-sex parents, both parents are entitled to be listed on the child’s birth certificate.
This is a matter of extreme urgency and constitutional imperative, and we urge your office to act expeditiously on this matter
Shannon Minter, Legal Director
National Center for Lesbian Rights
cc: Allen Windsor, Solicitor General (via email only to [email protected].
Nadine Smith, Executive Director, Equality Florida (via email only)