Ala. Supreme Court orders probate judges to stop issuing same-se - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Ala. Supreme Court orders probate judges to stop issuing same-sex marriages licenses

(Source: WSFA) (Source: WSFA)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) -
Tuesday evening, the Alabama Supreme Court has ordered probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The court order says marriage is defined as between one man and one woman in the state.

As it as done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for 'marriage' between only one man and one woman. Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage licenses contrary to this law. Nothing in the United State Constitution alters or overrides this duty.

We're still reading through the 148-page document and are working to understand the implications of this ruling at this moment.

Shortly after a federal court judge ruled Alabama's ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore told probate judges they did not have to issue the licenses.

Elmore County Probate Judge John E. Enslen asked for guidance from the Alabama Supreme Court on the various orders.

Every day, more and more purported "marriage licenses" are being issued to same-sex couples by some of the probate judges in this State. Every day, the recipients of those licenses and others with whom they interact may be, and presumably are, relying upon the validity of those licenses in their personal and business affairs. Every probate judge in this State, regardless of his or her own stance on the issuance of such licenses, will soon enough be faced, in his or her judicial capacity, with a universe of novel derivative questions unprecedented in their multiplicity, scope, and urgency. The circuit courts of this State will confront a similar experience...

It is clear that no other court in this State has the jurisdiction to provide the relief necessary in this most unusual of cases. There is a need for immediate, uniform relief among all the probate judges of this State, and no circuit court has jurisdiction over any probate judge outside its territorial jurisdiction...

The "magnitude and importance" of the issue before us is unparalleled. And the "special reasons" that compel us to act are unlike any other in the history of our jurisprudence... we are clear to the conclusion that this Court has the authority to act in this matter to maintain and restore order in the administration of our laws by the probate judges and the courts of this State.


The ruling states that probate judges have five days to respond to the order and present an argument on why they should be allowed to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Chief Justice Roy Moore did not vote on the matter and it's not clear who wrote the order. Six justices concurred. One justice concurred in part - but concurs with the final ruling.

Only one, Justice Greg Shaw, dissented.

You can read it here: https://acis.alabama.gov/displaydocs.cfm?no=642402&event=4AN12324A

The American Civil Liberties Union said, "Our legal team is currently reviewing the Alabama Supreme Court's decision very carefully and we will issue a prepared statement tomorrow."

The Human Rights Campaign is condemning the ruling, saying in part, "the order, which has no foundation in constitutional law, flies in the face of a prevailing federal ruling by Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued weeks ago."

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