Hernando County clerk under fire for refusing marriage licenses

By Frank Fencil | frank.fencil@springhillcourier.com

BROOKSVILLE — Some local lovebirds are asking an elected official to walk a mile in their shoes, even if they don’t have any.

Hernando County Clerk of Court Don Barbee has refused to issue marriage licenses to couples who enter the courthouse without shirts and shoes, going so far as to post a small placard espousing those beliefs on the door to his office.

“I’m not trying to be a martyr,” Barbee said. “I just ask for some basic level of decency and to not have to look at blistered, calloused feet.”

One man who was turned away said Barbee’s moral standing on the issue is an undue hurdle for citizens to leap over and one that all but prohibits anyone born and raised in Brooksville from his or her rights as established by the Supreme Court of the United States.

“It ain’t like we’re bad people,” Joad Kilnhopper said. “We just don’t see why’n Don Barbee is making us put on shoes. What is this, Chili’s?”

One woman who was refused a marriage license said she couldn’t understand why Barbee was so fixated on a rule that hurt so many of his constituents.

“He doesn’t even have to look at us or nothing, and it’s not like we’re making more work for him,” Billy-Jean Manson said. “Me and my brother already got the same last name, so there’s no paper changin’ or nothing.”

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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