News Top Alabama Judge Orders Halt to Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

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  1. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

    Aug 19, 2010
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    ATLANTA — The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore, on Wednesday ordered probate judges in the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a move that could cloud the carrying out of the United States Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex unions.

    Within hours of the administrative order, the probate court in Mobile County said on its website that it was “not issuing marriage licenses to any applicants until further notice.” That probate office, among the busiest in Alabama, was involved in the litigation that last year prompted a federal judge in Mobile to strike down the state’s marriage restrictions as unconstitutional.

    Chief Justice Moore previously used an administrative order to try to derail same-sex nuptials in Alabama. On a Sunday night last February, hours before same-sex marriages were scheduled to begin in the state, he issued a similar order to probate judges, most of whom defied the edict.

    On Wednesday, Chief Justice Moore, who is among the country’s most prominent religious conservatives, argued, in part, that probate judges should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of a pending State Supreme Court case. The fact that the case pending before the state court is at odds with the Supreme Court decision, he said, has prompted “confusion and uncertainty” among Alabama’s probate judges about how to apply the federal court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

    “Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell; others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses,” the chief justice wrote. “This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state.”

    The chief justice’s order prompted immediate criticism from supporters of same-sex marriage, who said they would be monitoring probate offices in Alabama’s 67 counties.

    “Roy Moore is obstructing same-sex couples’ access to marriage, which they are constitutionally guaranteed,” said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. “This is just more of his shenanigans. It’s about him and his personal beliefs at this point, rather than carrying out the rule of law.”

    Legal experts also questioned the chief justice’s order, which they said clearly veered from the Supreme Court’s opinion.

    “Ordering the state’s probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to all couples who seek them constitutes an exercise in futility,” Ronald Krotoszynski, a law professor at the University of Alabama, wrote in an email. “At best, it sows chaos and confusion; at worst, it forces couples to bring federal court litigation in order to exercise a clearly established federal constitutional right.”

    The chief justice’s action also put him in conflict with other Alabama officials. Last summer, Attorney General Luther Strange, who also opposed same-sex marriage, acknowledged the authority of the United States Supreme Court’s decision.

    “While I do not agree with the opinion of the majority of justices in their decision, I acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling is now the law of the land,” Mr. Strange said in June. “Short of the passage of a constitutional amendment protecting marriage as between one man and one woman, the U.S. Supreme Court has the final say.”
  2. Mlaw

    Mlaw Quite Contrarian 2010 OG VIP Gold

    Nov 5, 2010
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    fucking idiot
  3. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen New phone who dis? VIP

    Jan 16, 2012
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    Any word on cousins?