Alabama weddings screech to a halt

Timothy Kincaid

March 4th, 2015

bamaThe members of the Alabama Supreme Court appear to think that the state is not subject to federal rulings and apparently believes that they, not the federal judicial system, are the final word on applying the Due Process and Equal Protections provisions of the US Constitution.

Some of the anti-gay probate judges, along with anti-gay activist groups, sued in state court to have same-sex marriages stopped. The state Supreme Court responded:

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

In other words, it doesn’t matter in the slightest that the Alabama law has been found by a federal judge to be a violation of the US Constitution. Nor does it matter that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals did not grant a stay, finding it unlikely that this ruling will be overturned. Nor is it relevant that the Supreme Court of the United States also refused to stay the ruling, making its intentions clear.

Nope. Neither Judge Granade nor the judges on the Eleventh Circuit Panel not the Justices of the Supreme Court know what is “in the United States Constitution”. No sirree. ‘Bama knows better.

So they’ve ordered the stop of all same-sex marriage licenses.

The named respondents are ordered to discontinue the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

And not just the specific counties sued.

Further, and pursuant to relator Judge Enslen’s request that this Court, “by any and all lawful means available to it,” ensure compliance with Alabama law with respect to the issuance of marriage licenses, each of the probate judges in this Stateother than the named respondents and Judge Davis are joined as respondents in the place of the “Judge Does” identified in the petition.

Now there is one possible exception. Because Judge Granade specifically ordered Mobile County Probate Judge Davis to issue marriage license to four couples, the Alabama Supreme Court has not yet ordered him to stop. Rather, they demand that he come back and tell them whether he thinks that Granade’s ruling only extends to those four couples. Cuz unlike their rulings, federal rulings are limited only to the specific appellants.

So all the counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Including Mobile County which has closed its offices.

Of course no one, inside the state or outside, thinks this has anything to do with law, justice, or constitutionality. This is merely arrogance and animus on the Alabama court’s part.

Every now and again the good ol’ boys down there seem to need to remind the world that when it comes to matters of equality and civil rights, ‘Bama ain’t having it.


March 4th, 2015

The bigots quoted Gallagher in their opinion. They also make the claim that marriage is primarily about kids so the state can ban gay people. They bring up that being gay is not a suspect class so rational basis is all that is needed.

enough already

March 4th, 2015

Sure going to put the Supremes in an interesting position.
I’m guessing several conservative state governments are talking about similar seditious acts right this moment.

This will be resolved, and quickly. First time a gay or lesbian couple is denied an essential service by a Christian in Alabama, it’s going to be straight to Judge Grenade and that will be that.

Rob in San Diego

March 4th, 2015

Man do I really wish the the North would of allowed the South to secede back before the civil war. It sure would of cleared up a lot of head aches for America. Think about it, if they had, there would of been no state to hold back America from progressing over time.


March 4th, 2015

Unfortunately, if the US let the South secede, we would be supporting a third world country on our southern border and would need a bigger wall to keep them out.

Joseph Singer

March 4th, 2015

what a great legacy to have for your state that you opposed integration and you opposed marriage equality and put your state’s constitution ahead of the federal constitution.

Eric Payne

March 5th, 2015

@Rob in San Diego,


The contraction for “would have” is “would’ve.”

And even that is not correct English (or at least isn’t, according to one of my old English teachers), as there is, supposedly, no contraction for “would have.”

I apologize; I just had to get that off my chest.


March 5th, 2015

How does this work? The probate justices simply follow the most recent ruling? Everyone just obeys the last judge to speak? Isn’t there some sort of hierarchy in all this?

I mean, just because the State Supreme Court wants to have the last word, it surely can’t just be a matter of them assuming they do. Is there no reasonable guidance for the probate judges in which ruling to follow?

I’m confused.

Eric Payne

March 5th, 2015


Yes, there is a hierarchy, and the Alabama Court system is ignoring it.

Action Kate

March 5th, 2015

I’m desperately hoping some brave probate judge tells the State Supreme Court they can supremely go fuck themselves, and continues to issue marriage licenses to everyone.

I don’t think it’s actually going to happen, but a girl can dream, right?

Timothy Kincaid

March 5th, 2015

Eric Payne,

Sorry but your comment is one day too late.

Yesterday was National Grammar Day.


March 5th, 2015

Kate, I like your idea. Of course, since the probate judges are an elected position, they are probably relieved to have an excuse not to serve same-sex couples.

Eric M

March 5th, 2015

Rob in SD- I used to think the same thing, but you have to remember that there were vast swaths of territory which was not incorporated into either the USA or the CSA.

If the South had been allowed to leave or had won the Civil War, it would not have been the last conflict between the two. We would have likely been left with two or three 3rd world countries in what is now the mainland US.


March 5th, 2015

Ah, the probate judges are elected. Now I understand.

Eric Payne

March 5th, 2015

@Timothy Kincaid,

I’ve never done the thing expected of me at the time I was expected.

Hell, the fact I’m still alive is a testament to that!


March 7th, 2015

I’m just waiting to see Moore standing in a doorway with a bullhorn.

How about U.S. Marshals escorting Federal Magistrates into the County Courthouses to take over the duties of the obviously unqualified (and soon-to-be-defrocked) Probate Judges and Moore being removed YET AGAIN as State Chief Justice.

(Of course the bigots will just elect him to a THIRD reign of error.)

It’s amazing that white sheets can ever be found in stock in Alabama department stores…

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