Williams seeks legal change to accommodate gay marriage


TALLAHASSEE – With the U.S. Supreme Court ensuring that same-sex marriage is legal, a House Democrat has filed a bill to revamp part of Florida law that sets requirements for issuing marriage licenses.

150925_front03The bill, filed this week by Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, would eliminate one part of law that in the past required a marriage license to only be issued if “one party is a male and the other party is a female.” The bill also would repeal a legal definition of marriage that has been used in interpreting state laws and rules.

That definition says marriage “means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the term ‘spouse’ applies only to a member of such a union.” The bill (HB 4019), which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, would change state law to reflect court rulings during the past year.

Same-sex couples began getting married in Florida in January after a federal judge said the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court followed in June by issuing a landmark decision that said same-sex couples across the country have a fundamental right to marry.


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