The Florida State Department of Health says it’s time to update Florida’s marriage certification law.
On Tuesday, the department announced it’s investigating whether Florida’s new law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
In a letter to the Department of State, Dr. Richard Soderberg, the state’s chief medical officer, says the department is “very concerned about the potential impact on our ability to provide marriage licenses and related services.”
“The Florida Marriage Certificates Act (also known as the ‘Mariano Act’) violates our constitutional guarantees of equality and religious freedom,” Soderberg wrote.
He wrote the state is considering an emergency stay in order to protect marriages from further damage.
He said the agency would consider filing an emergency motion if the issue “continues to pose a substantial threat to the state and to the public health and safety.”
“While the Mariano Acts may appear to have a limited impact on the ability of some individuals to obtain licenses, the Department believes that any unintended consequences are far more significant,” he wrote.
The law was approved by voters in 2016, after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction that temporarily blocked the law.
The Department of Justice has also sued to block the law, arguing that it violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday agreed and temporarily blocked implementation of the law as it stands.