Chief Justice Roy Moore Claims Previous Order Issued To Probate Judges In March Remains In Effect
The Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court Wednesday morning issued an order to all probate judges to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Judge Roy Moore claims a previous order issued by his court in March remains in effect, and warns those judges that they "have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary" to Alabama state law and its constitution.
The Decateur Daily adds that "Moore's order found that a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down laws banning same-sex marriage in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee did not necessarily affect Alabama's similar laws."
"Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect," Moore stated.
For now it is unclear if same-sex couples can still obtain marriage licenses in Alabama via other venues. Stay tuned.
All updates are in Eastern Standard Time:
UPDATE I: 1:36 PM –
Note this is NOT AL Supreme Court order, but issued in Moore's capacity as "Administrative Head of the Unified Judicial System of Alabama"— Equality Case Files (@EQCF) January 6, 2016
UPDATE II: 1:44 PM –
Moore is claiming the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell last June applied only to Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, the states that comprise the 6th Circuit, and which ultimately became the Obergefell case.
Moore points to three recent decisions from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that he says state the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision only applies to those four states from the 6th Circuit.
UPDATE III: 1:55 PM –
Two attorneys weigh in:
Of course, AL probate judges who follow this “order” will quickly find themselves in contempt of federal court.— Greg Lipper (@theglipper) January 6, 2016
This distinction also means that he doesn't have absolute immunity for this constitutional violation https://t.co/lsroWtUMav— Joshua Block (@JoshACLU) January 6, 2016
UPDATE IV: 2:00 PM –
The Southern Poverty Law Center just sent this statement from Senior Staff Attorney Scott McCoy to The New Civil Rights Movement:
"Chief Justice Roy Moore today issued a dead letter. In no way does his administrative order supersede Judge Granade’s federal injunction prohibiting probate judges from enforcing discriminatory Alabama marriage laws. If probate judges violate the injunction, they can be held in contempt. This is Moore yet again confusing his role as chief justice with his personal anti-LGBT agenda."
UPDATE V: 5:23 PM –
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.