Broward County Clerk Howard Forman Should Obey Florida Law

Sep 9, 2014

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida—Along with several other pro-family organizations, Liberty Counsel today is calling on Broward County Clerk of Court Howard Forman to reject calls from homosexual activists to openly defy Florida law and issue same sex “marriage” licenses. Clerk Forman has come under a barrage of calls to issue same sex “marriage” licenses, following the recent decision of a Broward County Circuit Court Judge which held that the State of Florida must grant a divorce to a lesbian activist that had entered into a civil union with another lesbian in Vermont. However, Circuit Judge Dale C. Cohen’s decision in In Re Brassner involved only the one party before the Court in that case and only the issue of that person’s divorce. Neither the State of Florida nor any other advocate of natural marriage participated in that case. Indeed, Judge Cohen expressly stayed his decision “pending the outcome of expected appeals on similar issues recently ruled on by courts in Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.” Those appeals have now been filed and are pending at the Third District Court of Appeal.

Nothing in Judge Cohen’s decision, which is in any event stayed, authorizes Clerk Forman to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses. His solemnly sworn duty has been and remains to enforce Florida law, which continues to reserve marriage for one husband and one wife while various appeals are being considered by the courts. Issuing a “marriage” license in violation of state law would not only be a dereliction of duty but a prosecutable criminal offense.

Clerk Forman has indicated that he would announce a decision at 10:30 a.m. today.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, along with Anita Staver, President of Liberty Counsel, drafted Florida’s Marriage Amendment and defended it against legal challenges prior to its ratification by 62% of Floridians in 2008. “Clerk Forman must not forget that he has been elected and trusted by the people of Broward County to uphold and enforce Florida law, regardless of his personal feelings,” said Staver. “The people he represents expect no less.”

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.


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