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Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange doesn’t oppose adding new plaintiffs, defendants to Strawser case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed his response to yesterday’s request from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who’s representing the plaintiffs in Strawser v. Strange, to amend their complaint, add new plaintiffs and defendants, and request a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the Mobile County Probate Judge.

The filing notes that the attorney general can’t issue marriage licenses, nor can he order county probate judges to take any actions or open their offices.

Because of that, he doesn’t oppose the addition of plaintiffs who are seeking marriage licenses from Mobile County, and the probate judge of the county as a defendant.

In terms of the preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order requiring the Mobile County Probate Judge to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, “Attorney General Strange takes no position on the Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction against Probate Judge Don Davis.”

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

54 Comments

  • 1. netoschultz  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Same-sex marriage licenses are now available in all probate courts in the tri-county area.

    Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen said same-sex marriage licenses will now be available in Elmore County. He joins Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed and Autauga County Probate Judge Al Booth in issuing the licenses.
    http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/lo

  • 2. netoschultz  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Reports: probate judges in #Limestone, #Morgan will issue #marriage licenses to couples. #ALMarriage

  • 3. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Pat's spreadsheet copied here and update with neto's information: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sOMXM59jZ

  • 4. montezuma58  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:59 am

    That adds about 200,000 to areas with marriage equality.

  • 5. montezuma58  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Confirmed with quotes from probate judges http://whnt.com/2015/02/10/update-limestone-morga

    Nice to see that they are seeking out competent legal council rather than hiding behind Roy Moore's skirt. Oops, I meant robe.

  • 6. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:03 am

    After things have had a chance to percolate a bit, a more sober assessment of the legal landscape in AL:

    Supreme Court Undercuts Alabama Chief Justice’s Argument to Delay Same-Sex Marriages [New York Times]
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/us/supreme-cour

  • 7. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Monte: Your earlier info re Dallas has been added. G

  • 8. Rick55845  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I love this quote from the article, referring to the actions of SCOTUS in denying repeated requests for stays of lower court rulings:

    “It is very hard to imagine at this point that the court is going to undo all of these advances for gay marriage across the country,” Mr. Carpenter said. “They haven’t actively entered any orders; they’ve only denied requests to stay the effect of federal court rulings,” he said. “But it’s a very active form of passivity.”

    The Mr. Carpenter being quoted is a professor of civil rights law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

  • 9. David Cary Hart  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:17 am

    It seems worth noting that these probate judges are not lawyers. There is no educational requirement either. They need only be a resident of the county for a year and a US citizen for at least a day. That's it. The rest is up to the voters who elect these folks for six-year terms.

  • 10. montezuma58  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:24 am

    A few of the counties require a formal legal background to serve as a probate judge. The University of alabama does offer a crash course in law for probate judges but they aren't required to take it.

  • 11. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Good analysis of inclusive v exclusive counties – well worth a look. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/20

  • 12. montezuma58  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:36 am

    I'm not sure about Lee County. One couple got married in front of the Lee County Court House but they went to Montgomery to get their license.

    oanow.com and theplainsman.com are the best sources for that area.

  • 13. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Monte obtained from HRC Alabama's blog: – straight person in line reported that a number of same-gender couples in front of them were getting licenses…. We should all feel free to place and remove for sake of achieving accuracy. Please decide.
    Guitaristbl yesterday had posted this map: Would be great if updated: – https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?do

  • 14. SethInMaryland  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:52 am

    slowy getting there

  • 15. guitaristbl  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:52 am

    It is really strange that even probate judges as Enslen (even if he is no real "judge") continue to refer to the SCOTUS denial of stay as a 7-2 decision. It seems we as a forum and Lyle Dennistion are the only ones who do point out the difference between a noted and not noted dissent.

  • 16. guitaristbl  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:55 am

    From Enslen's (Elmore county) statement :

    "Only one avenue of modifying the United States Constitution remains available to the people. There is a process built into the federal constitution which would allow thirty-eight states to enact an amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Such an amendment is the only legal action that can trump the federal judicial activism that has totally redefined the word "marriage."

    Yes we get it,you do not like it. Now do go out there and find 38 states that will ratify that. At this point I doubt you will find even 25 tbh.

  • 17. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Al.com is running its liveblog for the second day of ME here:
    http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/same-sex

    They will be updating their county map, but it doesn't look quite current at the moment.

  • 18. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Monte; Re Lee Co. Thanks for the reference. Your reference is far more details quoting the judge himself. If you have not changed it I will. G

  • 19. sfbob  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:01 am

    New York State has a similar system for rural counties.

  • 20. GregInTN  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Also seems to leave out the part about 2/3 of both houses of Congress (unless they're calling for a new constitutional convention). When they tried to get a amendment through Congress about ten years ago it didn't get past either house so it didn't make it to the states. Some of the main sponsors lost their seats in 2006. Their chances seem even smaller now.

  • 21. jpmassar  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Chance was 0% then, and 0% now. So in fact, no, the chance isn't any smaller now. (heh)

  • 22. GregInTN  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:23 am

    I can't argue with your logic.

  • 23. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:35 am

    13 counties on updated map – scan down http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/see_if_y

  • 24. netoschultz  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:38 am

    http://www.moultonadvertiser.com/news/local/artic

    Lawrence County Probate Judge Mike Praytor did not issue any marriage licenses on Monday, but began issuing licenses to everyone on Tuesday after receiving assurances from Gob. Robert Bentley that no action would be taken against probate judges for following the federal judge's order.

  • 25. SteveThomas1  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Dale Carpenter is also the author of "Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas", a really excellent book.

  • 26. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Neto – good on you for posting Lawrence Co info. Added it to Pat's chart.

  • 27. netoschultz  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

    "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 in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.
    "I'm trying to move this state forward."

    At least the Governor is not as bad as the Chief Judge
    http://www.journal-news.com/ap/ap/general/gay-mar

  • 28. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

    WHAT??? You don't need a background in LAW to hold a position called "JUDGE" in the state of Alabama? This is starting to explain a few things…..

  • 29. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

    He would have better luck trying to create 38 NEW states that would give him the votes he wants. Maybe a bunch of new artificial islands?

  • 30. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Thanks!

  • 31. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:41 am

    The "Alabama black belt" is starting to show itself. For those who are unfamiliar with the local demographics, that's the east-west string of counties across south-central Alabama, centered on Montgomery, with a majority black population. During the Civil Rights era, that area was the main flash-point zone (along with Birmingham) for resistance, but they've learned a few lessons, and it's not going to be that way this time. It only took Montgomery to show them the way, and already, about half the counties offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples are in the "Alabama black belt." Many are quite rural/small town, have had a horrible history, and simply don't want to be "out front," and thus end up being turned into a fresh focal point for any further disturbances. Perversely, I suspect many are glad that Mobile, instead, has become the target, as it gives them the "cover" to do the right thing.

    Both Elmore and Autauga Counties are perfect examples of this.

    I see that too many of you making comments below are taking the Elmore County probte judge's words far too literally. He's talking "southern code," which means he's telling his potential opposition what they can do (in theory) while he does the right thing (in reality).

  • 32. hopalongcassidy  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

    But then they'd need 66 states to ratify. Rotsa ruck. heh heh

  • 33. SoCal_Dave  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

    What's interesting is that he seems to be admitting that disallowing marriage for same sex couples would require "modifying" the US Constitution. Yep.

  • 34. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Like the recent push to break CA into four separate states?

  • 35. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Excellent point!

  • 36. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:57 am

    The challenge here:

    "At this point I doubt you will find even 25 tbh"

    is that, when a Constitutional Amendment is being ratified, it is not the states' citizens who vote on it, but the legislatures. With (R) legislatures being more prominent even in traditionally blue states, getting an Amendment passed that the citizens do not agree with is more possible…

  • 37. GregInTN  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Even the plaintiff's attorneys in the expanded complaint they filed yesterday mentioned the 7-2 denial.

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:12 am

    After the 2014 elections republicans control 35 state senates and 33 houses :
    http://ballotpedia.org/State_legislative_election

    Theoretically they are close but not there to do that. Plus I wouldn't think the Washington Senate or the New York senate would vote for that, even if they are controlled by republicans.

  • 39. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I think the main point is that, in the 37 ME states, what are the chances that the legislators would vote (a) to reverse the right of its citizens to ME and (b) to invalidate existing marriages, since that is what a constitutional prohibition would do. They don't even have to vote on the amendment… they could just let it die. Who wants to have that debate in 2015.

  • 40. Rick55845  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:17 am

    It could be that those lawyers are also unaware that the lack of a noted dissent does not imply a vote in favor. Or, it might just be that they don't consider it to be in their client's best interest to nitpick such minor details. :) After all, regardless of the actual vote tally for or against, it's certainly true that SCOTUS denied the stay request.

  • 41. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:17 am

    17 by AL.com account: Added to spreadsheet Butler, Geneva, Monroe and Wilson. That is 9 added by midday. Barbour this pm. There is a critical mass around Montgomery (9). Nearby Crenshaw and Marengo both took applications. Until yesterday morning Marengo had consistently said they would issue licenses but these would be unsigned. Vital records said they would accept and process otherwise complete, unsigned by the pj documents. Who/How can these two counties be persuaded to proceed to issue licenses?

  • 42. TDGrove  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Here in PA, the first level District Justices can be anyone as well. I've known a few of them, one even had his court in a building my family owns. Rather informal process, they mostly handle small claims stuff and are routinely reversed if they are stuck with more substantial things. One guy had been a cameraman before and was filming when the Hey Man Nice Shot incident happened.

  • 43. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:34 am

    hmm? I live in CA and I hadn't heard about this. I hope I'm in one of the 'good' parts…. (kidding)

  • 44. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Oops – my count was off – it was to break CA into 6! states…

    see:
    http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-

  • 45. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:44 am

    The theory – a right-wing push to amend the Constitution – doesn't only apply to ME…

  • 46. MichaelGrabow  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I meant to post this yesterday when I found it. This is the man responsible for the “I’m not worried about following the U.S. Constitution.” quote. Look at his previous employment history (as recently as 2012)
    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/nick-williams/69/511

  • 47. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting educational background…

    ‪Liberty University‬
    Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Business Administration and Management, General
    Pursuing an M.B.A. through Liberty University. Expected to complete in 2017.

    ‪Southwestern Assemblies of God University‬
    Bachelor of Arts (BA), Theology/Theological Studies
    2010 – 2013
    Activities and Societies: ‪Theta Alpha Kappa‬

    ‪Rhema Bible Training Center‬
    Bible Diploma, Theology/Theological Studies
    1997 – 1999
    Graduated with 4.0 GPA, emphasis in Biblical Studies

  • 48. MichaelGrabow  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Haha I only saw Liberty and immediately thought "Oh, well that helps explain things."

  • 49. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Dave, bless you, but who ever heard of a low-level, educated southern judge?? That's an oxymoron, if ever there was one.

  • 50. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. : )

  • 51. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    ….. although it really would be good, at the very least, to require people to pass a simple one-question exam before they can get into a position as a "judge".

    QUESTION: When acting in the role as Judge, the goal is to:

    A) uphold the principles of the Constitution.

    B) try not to make the baby Jesus cry.

  • 52. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    In pre-Roman Greece, there was a school of philosophy that tried to show, with logic, a person could never reach their goal, or the reverse, never move from their starting spot.

    It went something like this:

    To get to one's goal, one had to move half-way, then half-way, then half-way, … to the goal. Pretty soon, the moves would be tiny, then even tinier as a person goes half-way, and the person would never reach their goal, because any distance would have to be first traversed half-way, then half-way, then half-way, … .

    Reverse, a person going to a goal would have to go half-way, but to get to the half-way point, they would have to go half-way, then again half-way to that new goal, until to even move, they would have to go half-way (to what?).

    Since it is obvious that a person can go to a goal and beyond, the school of philosophy's 'logic' was shown to be false, and thus the school of philosophy was shown to be based on faulty logic.

    Not all 'logic' is logical.

    Similar to the belief that the Earth is 7,000 years old and men rode dinosaurs. It can be proven that there are humans, and it can be proven that at one time there were dinosaurs. Some think that the Earth is only 7,000 years old, thus the only 'logical conclusion' some are able to come to is that humans rode dinosaurs.

  • 53. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    "Bible Diploma"

    As per the bio "qualifications" of the Washington County probate judge, THAT is the one qualification the voters of that county deem to be of greatest importance.

    Plus, as per A_Jayne's post, I actually learned something new today,– not only that the "Assemblies of God" sport a "university," but that said "university" actually issues BAs for their version of "theological studies." I wasn't aware that that emotionally-oriented pentecostal denomination even had a "theology." Instead, one would have thought, more appropriately, that the degree should have been issued for over-dramatic acting, hyper-ventilating, posturing, and fulminating.

  • 54. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Dave, that's too precious. I won't even try to top that!

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