Mobile Alabama reopens marriage license window
January 8th, 2016
On Wednesday, following Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s pronouncement that no marriage licenses can be issued to same-sex couples in the state, Mobile County stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether. Now they have resumed. (Fox6News)
The Mobile County Probate Court will re-open marriage license windows Friday morning, Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis said in a statement.
Davis’ statement says, “In an abundance of caution, the Court wanted an opportunity to review the order, and to have legal counsel research the matter. The Court is now satisfied, on the advice of counsel, that the appropriate action is to open the window and resume issuance of marriage license.
Poor Alabama. It’s a sad state of affairs when the state’s judicial officers just ignore the instruction of the state’s Chief Justice.
Alabama’s Roy Moore blusters some more
January 6th, 2016
On January 23, Judge Callie Granade found that Alabama’s anti-gay marriage ban violated the Equal Protections and Due Process provisions of the US Constitution. A few weeks later the Eleventh Circuit – and the US Supreme Court – denied stay on the ruling and marriages began.
On February 8, Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a pronouncement instructing the state’s probate judges to ignore the Federal Court ruling, the Eleventh Circuit’s response, and the refusal of stay by the Supreme Court of the United States and to instead deny marriage certificates to same-sex couples. He threatened to sic the governor on any who didn’t comply.
On February 10, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said he wasn’t playing that game. “I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that. I’m trying to move this state forward.”
Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis felt that he was stuck between two ruling and didn’t want to defy either court. He requeste that the state Supreme Court “clarify” Moore’s pronouncement. They declined. Upon suit by Mobile county residents, Judge Granade ordered Davis to issue licenses.
Over the next month, probate judges in all but about a dozen counties began issuing licenses.
But on March 4, the Alabama State Supreme Court announced that the US Constitution’s Equal Protections and Due Process provisions do not provide equal protections for them sinning homosexuals.
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.
The one exception was for Judge Davis, who had been specifically ordered by Grenade to issue licenses to four couples. They conceded that he could do that. Or, at least, he could tell them why they should let him do so.
Davis responded by requesting that be be exempt from the state ruling, but the Bama court wasn’t having it. They insisted he issue no more same-sex marriage licenses. Davis then turned to Judge Granade and requested that now that he had issued those licenses as ordered, he be allowed to deny future requests. Grenade also said no, he must comply with the US Constitution.
So, having been told that he cannot discriminate and that he must discriminate, Davis shut down the marriage license office in Mobile County to everyone.
Seeing that the state Supreme Court and several county judges were pretending to misunderstand Granade’s ruling and acting as though it only applied to four couples, marriage supporters appealed to make the case class action. On May 21, Granade agreed and applied her ruling to all 68 probate judges in the state. However, she stayed her ruling until the Supreme Court could rule on marriage equality (the case was already on their calendar).
On June 3, the state House voted to eliminate state marriage licenses altogether. But the next day the state Senate voted down that proposal.
On June 26, the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. On July 1, Granade clarified that her ruling now applied to all probate judges in Alabama (“by the language set forth in the order, the preliminary injunction is now in effect and binding on all members of the Defendant Class.”)
And same-sex marriages resumed in Alabama.
In September, the House again sought to eliminate marriage licenses, but again the Senate did not play along. So everything was assumed to be settled. Until today. (AL.com)
Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order today saying that a ruling issued last March by the Alabama Supreme Court remains in effect and that probate judges “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary” to Alabama’s law and constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
In a four-page administrative order, Moore said the conflict between the state court ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June has caused “confusion and uncertainty” among probate judges.
No. Most people know full well that federal rulings trump Moore’s opinions. There’s no confusion and no uncertainty.
But Moore is trying the same thing he did with Granade, claiming that the Supreme Court ruling applies only to the four states in that specific suit. Even though even the lowliest of junior clerks in Joe’s Law Shack and Auto Body Repair know that if SCOTUS doesn’t offer certiorari to a case, and if their ruling on related cases confirm the judge’s ruling, then that ruling stands.
Most counties will likely ignore Moore. But Judge Davis appears to have given up. (Buzzfeed)
Nonetheless, Moore’s move has stopped marriage licenses in at least one county. Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis — who had been caught between the conflicting state and federal court orders last year — stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether on Wednesday afternoon.
“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.”
I suspect that won’t take long.
The DOJ’s buddies – Part I
January 27th, 2011
There is an old saying that you are known by the company you keep. So the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice must be mortified by who has filed amicus briefs in support of their defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
In July, 2010, First Circuit Federal Court Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act violated the constitutional rights of states to define marriage and of the rights of same-sex couples to have their legal marriages recognized. This ruling did not touch on rights outside of Massachusetts.
The Department of Justice appealed that decision and are arguing for the constitutionality of Congress to deny rights based on sexual orientation. They are joined by a Who’s Who of anti-gay activists such as National Organization for Marriage, NARTH and the Eagle Forum.
Considering that the administration officially wishes to repeal DOMA – or at least that portion found unconstitutional – the decision to defend DOMA is one of legal principle (though I’m not convinced of its necessity) that then of ideology. So, sensing that no one from the DOJ is likely to stand on the table and scream, “they’re filthy sinners full of perversion and disease who are defying God and should be punished,” they have plenty of friends to make that point for them.
GLAD, who is arguing the Gill case on the side of equality, had collected these amicus briefs on their website for your perusal and delight. But, on the off chance that you may not find defense of discrimination and heterosexual superiority to be delightful – or that you may not wish to lose your lunch – I’ll give you a synopsis and save you the effort.
The National Organization for Marriage was the first out of the gate. In an argument that surely would have impressed George Orwell, they declare that allowing the states to define marriage – as they have always done – would be a violation of the Tenth Amendment.
Whatever the origin of the misunderstanding of the scope of the Tenth Amendment, the court below turned the Tenth Amendment on its head. Rather than protecting against federal usurpation of powers reserved to the states, the ruling below would allow each state to impose its own definition of marriage on the federal government in a sort of reverse Supremacy Clause.
Well, I’ll say that at least it is a novel argument.
They ramble a bit about censuses and other matters under federal definition, but basically they call for a newspeak approach to federalism whereby it is best achieved by centralized federal control. Listing all of the ways in which the federal government violates the rights of same-sex couples, they present this as evidence of the government’s right to do so. They rant about bigamy and Think of the Children. This was not their best effort.
The certified hate group, Family Research Council, was up next. Nothing new or interesting here, just the same ol’ “no strict scrutiny required” and “them homos in’t got no rights”. But I’ll give Tony and crew props for perhaps the single most meaningless sentence ever entered into public record:
And no court has ever held that marriage, traditionally understood, extends to same-sex couples. [emphasis in original]
George I. Goverman, “a citizen and resident of Massachusetts and a member of the bar of the Commonwealth since 1970”, chimed in to bring up Baker v. Nelson. Perhaps he intended to file his amicus with Perry, but got confused.
He also has a unique presentation style; his argument is in Times New Roman but for case references he appears to have selected an Arial italics font. They are also different font size and don’t quite line up, leaving a rather jarring effect.
But having read countless “procreative activity” amici during Perry, this peculiar presentation was not quite enough to keep me interested. I was, however, amused that he appealed to George Orwell at his conclusion. I guess he didn’t read NOM’s paper.
Judge Roy Moore (of Ten Commandments fame) was here with his Foundation for Moral Law to “defend the unalienable right to acknowledge God as the moral foundation of our laws.”
After he informed the court that “the views of the American people as a whole from the beginning of American history through the present, have held that homosexual conduct has always been and continues to be immoral and should not be protected or sanctioned by law,” I assume that the judge will just toss this one on the pile marked “raging loons.” It seems that Moore hasn’t read a poll or opened a newspaper in the past decade or so.
But I hope the court does read Moore’s rantings. For this paragraph, if for no other:
From Biblical law and other ancient law, through English and American common law and organic law, to recent times, homosexual conduct has been abhorred and opposed; the idea of a “marriage” based on such conduct never even entered the legal mind until very recent times. Congress’s passage of the federal definition of marriage in DOMA had the force of that history behind it and several present-day interests that were asserted when DOMA was enacted in 1996, such as an interest in defending marriage and an interest in defending traditional notions of morality.
The Supreme Court has found that defending “traditional notions of morality” is not an adequate reason for enacting law. In fact, to do so would be to invite judicial rejection.
So it is definitely to our advantage to remind the court that the sole purpose of anti-gay laws – including anti-marriage laws – is based in a desire on the part of one segment of society to impose their religious beliefs upon others. It also helps that Moore quotes the Bible about abominations and such and makes a bestiality comparison. I’m surprised he didn’t channel Jonathan Edwards.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Judge Moore for writing in and making it perfectly clear that opposition to same-sex marriage is based in religious doctrine, antipathy to gay people, and – at least in your case – baldfaced bigotry.
“Value Voters” Presidential Debate
August 30th, 2007
Mark your calenders. Here’s a presidential debate you won’t want to miss:
A Values Voter Presidential debate will be held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, September 17th at 7:30 p.m. The majority of the Republican candidates have confirmed their attendance at the event.
The venue is in Ft. Lauderdale, home of mayor Jim “Robo-Toilet” Naugle. The press release doesn’t say which candidates will attend, but the Value Voter Debate web site tells us who’ll be asking the questions:
Questions will come from 40 of our nation’s leaders including: Paul Weyrich, founder and President of the Free Congress Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly, founder and President of Eagle Forum, Don Wildmon, founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, Judge Roy Moore, with the Foundation for Moral Law, Rick Scarborough, Vision America, and Mat Staver of Liberty Council
Sounds like a perfectly lovely evening.