Last month Federal District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade declared the Alabama law barring same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, stating that “the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama.” The state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, immediately applied to the Supreme Court for a stay on the order, a request that the court turned down on Monday.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, famous for his defiance of the federal judiciary, immediately ordered judges across the state to defy the court order and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Caught in the middle judges in different counties took different courses of action, or inaction.
In some counties judges decided to ignore the federal courts and obey the orders of Moore, who was removed from the bench a decade ago for defying federal court orders to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the state courthouse before being elected again in 2012. Others opted to defy Moore and began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a very simple legal analysis: You’ve got a federal court order,” said Judge Alan L. King of Jefferson County, adding: “This is a happy day for all of these couples, and if you can’t be happy for people, then I’m sorry. If someone can’t understand the joy and happiness of others, then I don’t know what else I can say.”
Still others chose to simply stop issuing marriage licenses to anyone, same-sex or heterosexual, basically not allowing any marriage to take place in their counties.
In Autauga County in central Alabama, Probate Judge Alfred Booth allowed marriage licenses to be issued but prohibited any marriages to take place in the courthouse as long as same-sex couples are allowed to marry. This led to a dispute with Anne Susan Diprizio, of Prattville who had offered to marry a lesbian couple who had obtained a license but could not get married in the courthouse.
Diprizio is a minister and her offer to perform the ceremony for them lead to her arrest on charges of disorderly conduct.
The faction opposing same-sex marriage has called on Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, to weigh in on the side of those defying the federal court but he has refused to do so.
“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,” Bentley said. “I’m trying to move this state forward.”
h/t: Huffington Post