On Valentine’s Day – Thursday, February 14th at 11 o’clock – John Trumbull (“Jack”) Harvey and Alfred Burgermeister plan to present themselves at the office of the Bay County (FL) Clerk of the Court in order to apply for a marriage license.  They plan to do this as a matter of personal commitment, of human dignity and of social justice.

Though Florida law* does not permit the issuance of a marriage license to partners of the same gender, Jack and Al have been in a committed relationship for more than 23 years and, when their former state of legal residence – New Jersey – first sanctioned domestic partner and, subsequently, civil union status to same gender couples, they applied for and received each.

As committed Unitarian Universalists – the religion of three United States Presidents and several members of our country’s Constitutional Convention, the religion of which Thomas Jefferson wrote**:  “I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian” – Jack and Al subscribe to the Seven Principles of their faith, including

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person, and
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

Ten states and the District of Columbia now recognize the right of same gender couples to marry.  Our government promises “Equality Under The Law” and Jack and Al believe that now is the time to challenge the “separate and unequal” treatment of same gender couples under current Florida law.

If you agree that all citizens are entitled to equal treatment under the law, please join them at 11 a.m. this Thursday morning at the Bay County Clerk’s Office Marriage License Department Bay County Courthouse

300 East 4th Street, Room 101, Panama City, FL


Notes –

* Florida law: Florida Statute 741.212,  The Florida Marriage Amendment, also known as Proposition 2 and The Marriage Protection Amendment

  • “This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.” The amendment as written included a clause prohibiting judges from overturning the law. This was a response to what happened in Massachusetts, where a judge overturned that state’s law banning same-sex marriage.

** Jefferson quote:  letter to Benjamin Waterhouse, 1822