The responses from Alabama judges to Chief Justice Roy Moore's order effectively banning same-sex marriage are quite varied. (Photo: Outside the Madison Co. Courthouse now, protestors from Free2Be chant, "Love already won!")
Wednesday morning Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order claiming the Supreme Court's ruling last June that found a constitutional right to marriage by same-sex couples applies only to the four states that were a party to the Obergefell lawsuit. It's a legal tactic the federal courts will at some point soon be forced into, but for now, according to Justice Moore, probate judges are not to be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Of course, if a probate judge actually follow's Moore's order, they may find themselves the defendant in a federal lawsuit.
For now, Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis, who was the subject of a related lawsuit over marriage licenses for same-sex couples, is once again refusing to issue licenses to any couples, as Buzzfeed reports.
“Well, we have closed,” Russell Davidson, a supervisor of the court’s division that handles marriage licenses, told BuzzFeed News. “At this time, we are not issuing any licenses until further notice.”
In fact, a notice on the Mobile County website reads:
IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER OF ALABAMA CHIEF JUSTICE ROY S. MOORE DATED JANUARY 6, 2016 AND RULINGS OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, THE COURT IS NOT ISSUING MARRIAGE LICENSES TO ANY APPLICANTS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. THIS ACTION IS NECESSARY TO ENSURE FULL COMPLIANCE WITH ALL COURT RULINGS THAT APPLY TO THE COURT AND TO MOBILE COUNTY JUDGE OF PROBATE DON DAVIS.
WE REGRET ANY INCONVENIENCE ENCOUNTERED.
In other words, sorry if you thought you were getting married today.
But Montgomery County is taking a different course of action. One employee told Buzzfeed they “are issuing licenses until further notice. Our marriage department is open.”
And Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed posted this tweet in response to Justice Moore's decree:
WAFF reports Lawrence County has stopped issuing licenses to all couples, regardless of gender, DeKalb, Limestone, Marshall, Lauderdale, Morgan, and Franklin Counties are all issuing licenses to all couples. Madison County is accepting applications but not issuing licenses until further notice.
Meanwhile, the ACLU has some advice for Justice Moore and the probate judges of Alabama: this has already been decided in federal court:
And State Rep. Patricia Todd, who is Alabama's first openly-gay lawmaker, notes the same, that "Probate Judges are under a federal court order to adhere to the SCOTUS decision. If they follow Moore's lead they can and will be held in contempt in federal court." She told the Montgomery Advertiser if Judge Moore "wants to waste the taxpayers' money, go ahead, but we're not going backwards."
Image: Screenshot via WAFF