Monday, February 9, 2015

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore: Probate Justices Should Not Issue Any Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples // Updated: Gay Marriages Begin in Alabama Despite Controversies

(Originally written on 02/09/15): Alabama is supposed to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples today, thanks to a federal court decision. Now things just got a little complicated. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order late last night forbidding the state's probate judges and employees from issuing any gay marriage licenses or recognizing any existing same-sex marriages:
Moore has asserted several times probate judges who issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples would be doing so in defiance of state law. In his order issued Sunday night, Moore wrote that if any probate judge defies the order, Governor Robert Bentley would have the responsibility of ensuring that state law is "faithfully executed." He has also said that the judges are not bound by the orders issued in that case, Searcy v. Strange. Instead, he said, probate judges fall under the direct supervision and authority of the chief justice. He contends that the district court that issued a ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban has not issued an order directed to probate judges, who are not bound by the opinions of that court.
It's unclear how Alabama's 67 probate judges will respond to this latest development.

It will be interesting to see how this will unfold today.

Updated on later on 02/09/15: Alabama is a marriage mess! Some counties are marrying same-sex couples. Other counties are refusing. Still others are refusing to issue marriage licenses for anyone -- gay or straight!

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay on Alabama same-sex marriage, which opened the door for gay marriages to move forward. Some gay couples were hopping from county to county to find an office that would process their marriage license.

It promises to be a mess for the foreseeable future in Alabama, but that state is now the official 37th marriage equality state!

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