Few things can ruin a person’s day faster than receiving a summons for jury duty in the mail. Seriously, it’s the worst. But one Florida man refused to let it get the best of him.
When Chuck Chapman reported for jury duty at the Duval County courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday, he had one goal: to protest Duval County Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell’s stance on same-sex marriage.
Even though same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Florida for over a month, Duval County Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell has ordered his office to stop performing all marriages in an act of protest.
Chapman says he “regrets” that Clerk’s office isn’t “comfortable marrying same-sex individuals or anyone in the courthouse,” adding that “if they feel uncomfortable marrying same-sex people then I feel uncomfortable going in the courthouse.”
“Ronnie Fussell is an elected official in this town,” he told FCN News. “It’s government for the people, by the people. I’m a citizen, a vote. I pay my taxes. Just because it’s across the board, his decision not to do it any longer, has me willing to make this statement.”
“I’m a taxpayer in this community,” Chapman added. “I’m a citizen in this community. My rights should be across the board just like anybody else has and anybody else wants and anybody else needs. It’s my rights as a citizen in Duval County and the state of Florida.”
When Chapmen presented his argument to a judge, he was released from jury duty.
“The clerk of the court said they would not perform anyone’s wedding, heterosexual, homosexual, anyone,” he said shortly after leaving the courthouse. “There were 1900 weddings performed in the courthouse in 2013. There’s a chapel in that courthouse for weddings. There’s money being lost on that courthouse because the clerks of the court do not feel comfortable marrying same-sex partners.”
“Until this community gets in a position and embraces diversity, we’ll never move forward,” Chapman concluded.