Yesterday, antigay chief justice of Alabama, Roy Moore, sent out an order for the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. His reasoning behind his order is that he’s not convinced that the ruling from Obergefell V. Hodges applied to Alabama.
His administrative order reads:
“Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”
This isn’t the first time that Moore has tried to stop marriage licenses to LGBT couples in the state. Alabama’s anti-same-sex marriage laws were ruled unconstitutional by a federal court last year, prompting Moore to try to stop same-sex marriage licenses then too. It doesn’t seem that Moore will be happy with any court ruling that anti-gay marriage laws are unconstitutional, which is perhaps why he’s been brought up on ethics charges before.
Some are linking this seemingly random order to the fact that his son, Caleb Moore, is facing a felony possession charge of alprazolam and a misdemeanor marijuana possession. He appeared in court on December 21st to plead “not guilty.” It’s not the first time that the young Moore has had a run-in with the law.
Is Moore’s actions an upset father lashing out on anything, like same-sex marriage, that he sees as the enemy? Or is he holding same-sex marriage hostage until a favorable ruling?
Whatever the reasoning, Moore’s order has created confusion among many judges across the state. Some have stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while others have stopped issuing marriage licenses to straight and gay couples all together until they get a clear answer.
However, a select few are still doing their duty and following the law of the land. Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King told WIAT: ““I don’t have a crystal ball. We’ve been following the law of the land for many, many months, and the administrative order does not change that.”
Probate Judge Bobby Martin of Chilton County agreed and said, “I think I’m standing right now with the federal court order.” He is also providing marriage licenses to all couples.
Human Rights Campaign’s legal director Sara Warbelow told the Advocate:
“Regardless of what Roy Moore says, marriage equality is the law of the land. His obstructionists tactics tarnish the reputation of the great state of Alabama, and we urge all of the state’s probate judges to issue licenses to same-sex couples, as is their duty under the law. Moore’s personal opinions are not at issue here. As a judge, he has an obligation to follow the law. If he refuses to do so, he should be removed from office.”
We hope that more judges in Alabama like Martin and King uphold the Supreme’s Court ruling and not be swayed by their discriminating and prejudiced chief justice.