Harvey Ruvin, Clerk of Courts, Miami-Dade County (J. Albert Diaz)
Opponents of same-sex marriage shifted their focus Monday to Miami-Dade Clerk of Court Harvey Ruvin, calling on him to ignore any court ruling that would weaken a state ban.
Six gay couples sued Ruvin for not issuing marriage licenses. He has said he is just following the state law passed by 62 percent of voters in 2008, but he is not offering any opposition to a lawsuit challenging the ban before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel.
The lawsuit challenges the state ban as unconstitutional in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Similar bans around the country have been struck down, and others are being challenged.
Same-sex marriage opponents led by the Christian Family Coalition have focused their attention previously on Zabel, accusing her of playing politics with the timing of the hearing to avoid an election opponent.
At a Monday news conference, opponents said Ruvin should face prosecution if he sells “fake homosexual marriage licenses” if Zabel strikes down the ban.
If Zabel did that, she also could issue a stay to allow an appeal.
Ruvin had no comment by deadline on the coalition position. He has said his role in the issue is purely ministerial, and he will follow whatever the courts decide. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi opposes any change.
The news conference was held at the Dade County Courthouse with Ruvin’s photo on a banner asking “Will Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin issue fake marriage licenses?”
Eladio Jose Armesto, chairman of the Florida Democratic League, said the Supreme Court’s landmark decision addressed only federal marriage law and left it up to states to decide the definition of marriage.
Anthony Verdugo, executive director for the Christian Family Coalition of Miami-Dade County, said Ruvin is failing to uphold his oath of office.
“He signed a sworn oath that said he would support the Constitution in the state of Florida and the law,” Verdugo said. “He failed to do that when he failed to defend Florida’s Constitution in respect that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
The opposition groups said they want to protect the 2008 vote on the issue.
“The issue here is not same-sex marriage. The issue here is democracy,” Verdugo said.