This decision is part of a larger battle raging in the state, with federal judges clashing orders with state judges, overruling each other’s moves, one after another. Alabama’s Supreme Court order follows a request for clarification filed by an Elmore County probate judge, who wanted to know the stance on the issuance of licenses.
In response, the Supreme Court stressed its previous stand, ruling that the state law only permits the marriage between a man and a woman. It also added that no probate judge has the duty of submitting their issuance of marriage licenses to this law, because the United States Constitution does not change or override this duty.
The decision was 134 pages long and six justices concurred, one dissented and one concurred to the majority of the opinion. In the timeframe of 5 days, probate judges are to respond whether they are bound or not to submit to this ruling.
In early January, the ban on same-sex marriage licenses was halted by federal judge Callie Granade, and they issuance resumed in Alabama on February 9th. The judge said that such rulings are a clear violation of the U.S. constitution. But probate judges were soon caught in the cross-fire, because state Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered them not to comply with Granade’s ruling.
However, even when the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed Granade’s decision, it did not shine a clear light for the confused probate judges. In result, some judges decided to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses, while others refused to issue any kind of licenses – even for straight couples – until they received clear orders.
As it was expected, LGBT rights advocates did not remain quite. Most reactions could be found on Twitter, commenting about the absurdity of the Supreme Court ruling.
Equality Alabama, one of the local organizations which fight for equality for the LGBT community, posted a tweet saying that they will keep on fighting. The group supports the hundreds of same-sex couples who got married since the ruling in February 9th and advocates freedom for the others who want it.
Another loud voice on Twitter came from The Southern Poverty Law Center, which expressed its disappointment over the court’s decision. SPLC’s mission is to fight discrimination, hate and intolerance by educating and legally supporting people who need it.
Image Source: The Guardian