Astonishing Twist In Alabama’s Effort To Delay Same-Sex Marriage
In perhaps one of the most surprising twists along the road to marriage equality, Alabama’s state officials have outpaced even South Carolina’s officials on the resistance to accept marriage equality scale.
A federal judge in Alabama recently overturned its marriage ban, paving the way for same-sex couples to marry. The decision was stayed, pending appeal, but the Supreme Court of the United States refused to uphold the stay, thus allowing couples to marry. Even so, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, an established controversial figure in the conservative moment, refused to budge. He introduced confusion into the state asking probate judges not to marry same-sex couples. The result was that some counties did; some didn’t; and some didn’t issue any licenses to any couples.
But, Alabamans who do not support marriage equality weren’t done yet.
On Tuesday, two anti-LGBT groups filed a complaint in hopes of putting a stop to marriage. The response of Justice Roy Moore and his benchmates?
According to Freedom to Marry, “the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling in an ‘emergency petition for writ of mandamus,’ brought by two private groups who oppose the freedom to marry in Alabama. In the ruling, the Court ordered a temporary halt to probate judges in Alabama from issuing marriage licenses, aside from probate judge Davis in Mobile, who was specifically ordered to stop enforcing Alabama’s harmful ban on marriage between same-sex couples.”
The ruling, from which Justice Moore has recused himself, left folks scrambling today to understand whether or not same-sex couples could apply for licenses.
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon indicating that its local chapter, HRC Alabama, had been unable to confirm “any Alabama counties that are issuing licenses to same-sex couples.” Previously 48 of the 67 counties had been issuing licenses, leaving no counties current open to same-sex couples who wish to affirm their life-long commitment and receive legal recognition.
Certainly, we can expect that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in to resolve the issue no later than the end of June when a decision on marriage equality with national implications is expected. In light of the lack of precedent and flimsy legal ground that the recent Alabama ruling stands on, it’s also likely that the Supreme Court will find its hand forced and will need to weigh in sooner.
Featured image credit: Popography.
Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@madebykathryn) is co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto Books, 2014), an Education Expert for WeddingWire and Publisher of GayWeddings.com