Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

AL supreme court orders responses to Liberty Counsel petition to stop same-sex marriage, with dissents from two justices

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

The Alabama Supreme Court has issued an order requiring the probate judges in counties who are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and named as defendants in a pending action filed by Liberty Counsel to “file answers and,if they choose to do so, briefs, addressing issues raised by the petition, including, but not limited to, any issue relating to standing or otherwise relating to this Court’s subject-matter jurisdiction, and any issue relating to the showing necessary for temporary relief as requested in the petition.”

The order is addressing the petition filed by Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT organization, attempting to force county probate judges who are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples to stop issuing them.

There are two dissents from the order. The two separate dissents highlight the unusual procedural posture of the case. But most importantly, they point out that it was filed by private organizations, and those organizations may not actually have standing to ask the court to issue the mandate forcing probate judges to refrain from issuing the licenses.

That issue was highlighted in an amicus brief filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on behalf of Equality Alabama, the state’s LGBT rights organization.

The brief touches on all the procedural issues with the case. The two main issues appear to be that Liberty Counsel wouldn’t suffer any injury were the court to deny their petition, and that Liberty Counsel can’t invoke the state’s sovereign interest, because it’s a private group.

Based on the order, at least two justices already seem to agree with the brief.

Responses are due by 5PM on February 18, and replies are due by 5PM on February 20.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. flyerguy77  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    What happens if they grant the "stay" Did Chief Justice resigned from this order? Can the federal court judge overturn the stay if ALA Supreme Court grants the stay? Ala Supreme Court can not override the fed judge

  • 2. A_Jayne  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Does the law in AL require that Liberty Counsel will pay the legal expenses of the counties that must reply to this order when LC loses the case?

  • 3. A_Jayne  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Do the justices on the AL Supreme Court really believe they can order probate judges to refuse to comply with a federal court order? How many of them are as delusional as Moore is?

  • 4. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    As far as I know, the CJ hasn't recused from THIS order – he did recuse from an earlier one. Could be wrong on that though.

    And it's not technically a stay, it's a "writ of mandamus" which is just a stupidly overcomplicated way of saying that Liberty Counsel wants the Alabama supreme court to mandate that probate judges stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Basically, IF they were to grant it, it would be in direct conflict at least in Mobile where a federal order specifically goes against that county's probate judge. In other counties it may apply.

    HOWEVER, I can't stress enough that this whole thing seems pretty much meritless. Liberty Counsel as a private organization can't ask the Alabama supreme court to order county elected judges to do their jobs. LC isn't a government organization.

    On top of that, there would be no injury suffered by Liberty Counsel if the mandamus isn't granted. Liberty Counsel would feel upset, but wouldn't be forced to do or not do anything. So I have to say I'm pretty certain this is going nowhere.

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    That just tells us that there are only 2 relatively sane people on the Alabama Supreme Court. So now probate judges have to explain why they follow the federal constitution as they should because a group with obvious lack of standing is creating a fuss ? Only in a court with Moore as Chief Judge..

  • 6. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    It really is a bit more complicated than it seems. And this is NOT to defend the situation, God, I live here in Alabama and this has been so stressful to me and painful.

    But the only real injunction is against the Mobile County Probate Judge and the Attorney General. The AG has nothing to do with marriages. So only Mobile is currently under court order. But what's happened since then is that other counties are following along most likely because they don't want to be sued and risk paying attorneys' fees and costs to the plaintiffs.

    I personally doubt the AL supreme court will even decide the issue, actually. But they wouldn't be urging defiance, at least unless more counties are added to the federal injunction.

  • 7. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Now that's something I don't know. Hopefully someone who knows can answer.

  • 8. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Well they have to file papers, but it's hard to see how Liberty Counsel ultimately wins this thing. It's incredibly ridiculous.

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  February 13, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I agree with you but even the call for replies here given the very difficult and sensitive position probate judges have found themselves these days (and they do have to blame themselves for that of course for listening to Moore and injecting their beliefs into their duties under the law) I can see some of them again refusing to issue licenses to same sex couples because they would be scares due to this irresponsible action of the Alabama Supreme Court. They may deny their petition after all (would be scandalous to allow this organization to control what probate judge should do) but in the meantime they create uncertainty, like we did not have enough of that already…

  • 10. guitaristbl  |  February 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    It sure is incredibly ridiculous, so would be calling for replies from probate judges at all and not dismissing the petition immediately in almost every other court in the country. But in this court almost anything can be expected it seems..Anyway as I said above what makes me more worried is that the fact that the Alabama Supreme Court is even paying attention to LC may scare away from issuing licenses some probate judges..

  • 11. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Keep in mind that no action will be taken against any probate judge who issues licenses. The only person who can do that is Governor Bentley, and he's said he won't. So it's not likely they would stop issuing before an order comes down. They won't be in any trouble.

  • 12. A_Jayne  |  February 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I know you're correct in that, but Judge Granade's decision did say that the US Constitution required probate judges to also issue licenses to gay couples since that's what "Equal Protection" demands…

  • 13. 1grod  |  February 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    How many would have sat on this decision? G

  • 14. sfbob  |  February 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I suppose that in the event the court were to determine that Liberty Counsel's petition actually has merit, LC would then have to file an additional writ of mandamus against Governor Bentley in order to attempt to force him to take action against the probate judges.

  • 15. Sagesse  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    To be clear, the petitioners are not Liberty Counsel, but "Ex parte STATE ex rel. ALABAMA POLICY INSTITUTE and ALABAMA CITIZENS ACTION PROGRAM"; in other words, two organizations (who I think were proponents of the constitutional amendment), claiming to be acting on behalf of the state. Liberty Counsel is acting as their counsel, and has induced them to front as petitioners.

    Doesn't change the key issue, which is standing. On what basis do these groups have standing to petition to enforce the constitutional marriage ban, in other words to stop probate judges from issuing marriage licences.

  • 16. Sagesse  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    This is forcing a group of probate judges to defend against this petition. I am also concerned (a) that do not want to incur the costs of becoming involved, and/or (b) about the calibre and political motivations of whatever counsel they will engage to represent them.

  • 17. brandall  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:35 pm


    "Federal law (28 US Code Sec. 455) requires federal judges to disqualify themselves "in any proceeding in which [her] impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

    Haha! OK, let's just suppose we buy this angle for the sake of argument.

    Round 1: RGB "skim-milk marriage" disqualifies herself. We immediately turn to "when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868? " Scalia. He has to rescue himself most certainly. Score is now 4 to 3.

    Round 2: "They can create a class they don’t like" Sotomayor (as requested by NOM) …out. We turn to "is anybody home?" Thomas. He voted to uphold the stays which clearly shows he as already decided this issue. You're out and you must recuse yourself. Score is now 3 to 2.

    Round 3: Now we turn to "lots of people who get married who can’t have children" Breyer. A clearly biased question! You must recuse yourself, quickly followed by “Congress decided to reflect an honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality” Kagan. Uh oh, NOM thinks it is 1-2 against ME and is jumping up and down with excitement.

    Round 4: But then, "You want us to…render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?" Alito is hounded after it is disclosed Al Gore invented the internet in 1721. We are tied at 1-1. It's gonna be a close one!

    The 9th inning: "The lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different states is politically powerful" Roberts haunts himself for the rest of his life for making this obviously biased and untrue statement after witnessing what was said and done in Florida and Alabama. Another recusal.

    The finale: With only "I just wonder if—if the case was properly granted' Kennedy left, he pats himself on the back for having taken the emergency exit door in PROP8 and not having shown any predisposition to the current case. Kennedy rules 1-0 in favor of marriage equality…..even with recusals, we won.

    Epilogue: Brian Brown of NOM is later found to have stolen and hidden $5M of NOM funds in an account in the Grand Cayman Islands and is sentenced to 20 years at Talladega Federal Prison where he meets Bubba whom he marries in Alabama after his early release for good behavior.

  • 18. RnL2008  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    So then according to NOM's reasoning…..both Justice Scalia and Thomas MUST recuse themselves because of their biased towards Gays and Lesbians, right?

  • 19. RnL2008  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Again Stupid should hurt!!

  • 20. brandall  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    As I concocted in my fantasy story above. It's good to be posting again, work only allowed me enough time to follow everyone's comments for the past few days. Thank heavens for EoT and all the commentors!

  • 21. David_Midvale_UT  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    What part of The Golden Rule is so flipping difficult for these so-called Christians to understand?

    Did they learn nothing from former Gov. George "Segregation Forever" Wallace? Bigotry is bad for society. Irrational prejudice creates anger, frustration, resentment, and disharmony. Government sanctioned discrimination is just plain BAD.

    Aren't Christians expected (commanded) to treat their neighbors with the same kindness, respect, and civility that they expect for themselves? The Bible they love to thump so firmly calls this principle the Second Greatest Commandment. And wasn't their good ol' boy Jesus the one who called it that?

    Their book also suggests that Jesus reserved his harshest criticism for HYPOCRITES.

  • 22. Zack12  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Alabama Policy Institute is the FOF group for Alabama so it's no shocker they are fighting this as hard as they can.

  • 23. RnL2008  |  February 13, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Nice to see ya back…..I believe you have an e-mail from me:-)

  • 24. RnL2008  |  February 13, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Have you NEVER heard of the rule, "Do as I say, NOT as I do"? This is how Evangelistic Fundamentalist live their lives by a book that they feel they DON'T have to follow, but others do!!!

  • 25. dorothyrothchild  |  February 13, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    If that's the case we'll see Roy Moore in a full body cast.

  • 26. brandall  |  February 13, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Ouch. Kitty has claws. Good one!

  • 27. SethInMaryland  |  February 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    it's now only 17 counties that are left , it's gaining momentum

  • 28. Raga  |  February 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    How Supreme of them! Really. They rebuff a probate judge when he asked them for clarification, and now they order probate judges to respond to a crackpot writ petition? Wow.

  • 29. VIRick  |  February 13, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    U.S. Orders Alabama To Grow Up:

    I'm sorry, but Alabama, once again, has lived up to its very low expectations, rendering itself the laughing stock of a fool's paradise in a very dark, grim tragedy.

    It's pathetic, but the redneck trailer-trash living in their run-down single-wides find it essential to belittle and demean others in order to maintain the illusion of having any self-esteem. Too frequently, the politicians who play up to this ignorance are the ones who get elected, and very obviously, including those politicians who are elected with the pretense of being "judges" sitting on the Alabama Supreme Court, the most repugnantly dysfunctional state supreme court anywhere in the USA..

  • 30. Tony MinasTirith  |  February 14, 2015 at 2:56 am

    Well, if RBG must recuse herself, then so must those justices who have ever officiated at an opposite sex wedding or many weddings, or showed their support and bias by attending opposite gender weddings, bot wedding gifts for opposite sex couples, or has shown a bias by getting married to only someone of the opposite sex. Scalia should recuse on multiple grounds… his son is an anti gay marriage catholic priest. It would be beyond belief or reason to think Scalia hasn't discussed SSM with his son, a high Roman Catholic official. He is opposite gendered married, and in Lawrence he admonished the majority' for "signing on to the homosexual agenda". He already warned in Windsor about "the other shoe dropping"… thus talking about future litigation. And Thomas in his Alabama dissent suggested that the court could be seen to have already answered the question. Again discussing and forecasting the outcome of an upcoming case… in writing no less. Thomas could have just voted yes on the stay and left it at that. Now, any rational person could doubt his and Scalias' impartiality.

    Mr. Brown doesn't think things through very well before he issues his "Immediate Releases". He is a sad (big) little man grasping for attention, money and power. His little boat is sinking and the other rats like Maggie Gallagher have abandoned ship. All Mr. Brown has left is hysterical rhetoric and hyperbole. Next stop for Brian is joining Maggie on the next season of America's BIGGEST LOOSER.

  • 31. samg68  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:15 am

    I think it's unfair to call out the whole state because of Moore, this is all his doing. In fact I've been impressed by how well things have been going considering all the confusion he's caused.

  • 32. wes228  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Not to mention that his whole premise is wrong because that law does not apply to the Supreme Court! There is no law that requires a Supreme Court justice to recuse him/herself.

  • 33. DeadHead  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:42 am

    It is demeaning and belittling to label those who live in single/double wide mobile homes as trash.

    VIRick • 5 hours ago
    “It's pathetic, but the redneck trailer-trash living in their run-down single-wides find it essential to belittle and demean others in order to maintain the illusion of having any self-esteem.”

  • 34. Steve84  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Maybe then they shouldn't have elected him.

  • 35. RQO  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I (living only 40 miles from FOF HQ) find myself on their email list and always answer their surveys so they can't say the results are unanimous. But maybe Zack can answer this: here in Colorado FOF pretty much PUBLICLY folded on ME – not much of a peep since Oct. 6 denials of cert. What's different in AL?

  • 36. Flamel4Paris  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Consider What is Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander:

    Perhaps, subject to the next few paragraphs, another group, pro Marriage Equality, should file a petition for mandamus with the Alabama Supreme Court demanding that each probate judge must issue marriage licenses. Now, that petition may be unverified also. And such a petition should not be brought by any group currently litigating since that could be construed as 'waiving' the objection that what 'Liberty Counsel' did procedurally is fatally defective. BUT WHERE WOULD THAT LEAVE THINGS?

    Maybe a short term win in that the Alabama SC all of a sudden decides the old traditional procedures no longer apply. BUT subsequently there could well be a ruling at the Alabama SC level saying 'no requirement to issue and in fact such licenses must no longer be issued.''?

    ON THE OTHER HAND, it looks like, at least for now, a strong probability that SCOTUS will make some pro-ME ruling in June, 2015. If the Alabama SC allows the 'Liberty Counsel' 'procedure' to now be used, then LOGICALLY it would stand that come June, there is now a direct and immediate road to the Alabama SC to force the issue of compliance with SCOTUS, rather than what otherwise would be a requirement of first litigating at the Alabama trial court level and then the first appellate level and only then to the Alabama SC.

    Just some strategy thoughts. And IANAL in Alabama, so I am not sure of the validity of some of the procedural assumptions made. (Although really, it appears, neither are the members of the Alabama SC-hehe.)

    One thing appears certain–Alabama appears determined to plumb further the boundaries of federalism.

  • 37. Sagesse  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:23 am

    "Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been the most outspoken in advising probate judges not to issue same-sex licenses, was the only justice not listed as taking part in Friday's decision."

    Alabama Supreme Court to consider petition seeking halt to same-sex marriage licenses []

  • 38. RQO  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:27 am

    NOM, FOF, ADF, Liberty Counsel – it seems they know they have lost but are busy setting up the conditions under which they can argue for 200 years that it was a left-wing conspiracy and somehow just "wrong", as some still do the Civil War, the income tax, public education, social security, yadda yadda yadda.

  • 39. DeadHead  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Another evil we all should be very concerned about…. “The story of dark money could get a new chapter from the Supreme Court this term in v. Bowen. This case has been bouncing around the courts since 2009 and arises out of facts surrounding the 2008 election in California. ProtectMarriage was one of the primary proponents of the anti-gay Prop. 8, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman in the California Constitution. The group has tried unsuccessfully to keep the names of its donors private in the lower courts arguing that they deserve a harassment exemption. …This is an interesting case because some Supreme Court justices have already tipped their hand on their view of ProtectMarriage’s victimhood in another case called Hollingsworth v. Perry, 130 S.Ct. 705 (2010). Hollingsworth is the case from California about Prop 8’s constitutionality under the Equal Protection Clause. ” Dark Money Could Get Even Darker

  • 40. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:00 am

    “Perhaps, subject to the next few paragraphs, another group, pro Marriage Equality, should file a petition for mandamus with the Alabama Supreme Court demanding that each probate judge must issue marriage licenses.”

    In order to understand why that would be an inappropriate action by a pro ME group, one needs to read the Equality Alabama Amicus Curiae Brief in the link above. "In sum, Petitioners seek to represent the State based on their assertion that ‘[t]he Alabama public has an interest in probate judges’ faithful performance of their duties under the Marriage Amendment and the Marriage Act.’ . . . But that claim falls squarely under the type of mandamus action that must be brought by state officials. The interest that Petitioners’ describe — in ensuring that public officials faithfully perform their duties under state law — belongs to the State of Alabama as sovereign and may be asserted only by the Attorney General.”

    Just because our anti ME forces act inappropriately does not give pro ME groups leave to act in the same unprofessional way. In fact it should be a clear example to us how not to act.

  • 41. RobW303  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Right, it's government by the people, of the people and for the people. Alabamans don't get a pass when they elect so many of these blatant bigots and consistently register bottom rung in pretty much every opinion poll taken (not to mention national achievement statistics, etc.). There are many, many fine people in Alabama, and even the "haters" may be fine, considerate people in other respects, but the figures speak for themselves, GOP gerrymandering aside.

    And it's not just Judge Moore: have you forgotten the probate judges in most of the counties? The legislators and voters who passed this horsepucky in the first place and continue to vote down protections for LGBT people?

  • 42. Sagesse  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:19 am

    In fact, the Alabama SC should be asking itself, with respect to standing… where is the state in this judicial mess? If the state (through its officers, the governor and/or the AG), thought a writ of mandemus was the way to go, they could make this petition themselves. Why do they need these two organizations to act as surrogates, to pretend to speak for them, when they won't speak from themselves? Answer: they don't. By dodging their obligation to respond, the governor and the AG… 'helped' by the chief judge of the Alabama SC… are putting the probate court judges, low level functionaries, in the crossfire.

    It's Alabama.

  • 43. Flamel4Paris  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Just because the Amicus Brief states that something is 'inappropriate' does not make it so.

    What will make it 'inappropriate' or not, procedurally, is how the Alabama SC decides on the procedural matter.

    Further, if such a strategy were used, it would have to be by some entity that did not believe as the proponents of the Amicus Brief believe with regards to the procedural issue only. I have trouble believing that all ME proponents agree that there is fundamentally never ever any right to petition the Alabama SC for Mandamus if in fact the Alabama SC decides that there is.

    Finally, the 'real' purpose of such a filing by a pro ME group would be twofold:

    1. Alert the Alabama SC that if they should decide that the procedure utilized by 'Liberty Counsel' will now open it doors (and that it is now being already 'forced' to so open its doors wider, open them to those with whom it's 'heart' is not sympathetic) to 100s of direct petitions for Mandate where 'injury' is much more speculative-etc., something it might be reluctant to allow;

    or in the alternative,

    2. Subject the Alabama SC to legal ridicule for only opening its doors to 'favored' groups in 'favored' situations and not applying the procedure equally to groups in similar circumstances—should it decide to procedurally allow the 'Liberty Counsel' petition but not allow a similar petition brought by those in favor of ME.

    Nevertheless, due to an anticipated outcome of an Alabama SC ruling against ME via such a proposed new petition–should such a petition pass the procedural hurdles, I personally would not favor the above referenced gambit of filing the proposed petition for Mandate.

    The upshot of not filing a comparable petition for Mandate (but which would be pro-ME) would be : the Alabama SC EITHER allows the procedure used by 'Liberty Counsel' (thus, ipso facto, confirming its 'appropriateness', for better or for worse) in which case that procedural avenue should now, LOGICALLY, remain open for ME proponents to expedite a ruling by the Alabama SC that forces an accord with a ruling by the SCOTUS regarding ME throughout the state of Alabama on a faster track than would otherwise happen [see the mulit-year litigation regarding mscegenation after Loving], OR the Alabama SC does not allow the 'Liberty Counsel' attempts to 're-define' allowable procedure and thus never gets to the merits of 'its' petition [which MIGHT allow for multi-year litigation to 'enforce' the effects of a SCOTUS ruling on the various probate judges of Alabama.]

  • 44. franklinsewell  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hi All: I think that this rule answers the question, but IANAL.… – If the appellate court determines this to be frivolous, it may award just damages and single or double costs to the appellee.

    Don't know if this would be considered an appeal, since it is actually a request for a writ of mandamus.

    Also this rule:

  • 45. Sagesse  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:57 am

    OT for this thread, but not for the board. As a sidebar to religious freedom arguments, we should never forget that the Catholic Church in the US is very wealthy, and has widespread interests in education and healthcare. I read somewhere that one in five patients is treated in a hospital owned by the Catholic Church. It is truly scary that they can choose to impose their religious doctrines on employees and students or patients who do not share their religious views.

    Cordileone's continuing controversy in San Francisco revolves around Catholic identity [National Catholic Reporter]

  • 46. franklinsewell  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Thanks, DeadHead – For those interested, here's the link to this case on SCOTUSBlog:

    Case set for 2/27 conference, same as the Idaho marriage case. Interesting.

  • 47. Sagesse  |  February 14, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Telling stories.

    In Alabama City, Gay Couple Try to Wed, Early and Often [New York Times]

  • 48. sglaser2  |  February 14, 2015 at 8:39 am

    In case you hadn't seen it….

    robtish analyzes / demolishes a hater ad about Alabama at

    Also see the 1st comment for another take.

  • 49. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 14, 2015 at 8:47 am

    “Just because the Amicus Brief states that something is 'inappropriate' does not make it so.”

    Have you read the Equality Alabama Amicus Curiae Brief? It is a very well written brief. Any attorneys for the AL probate judges’ would do well to do a lot of “copy and paste” in their responses to the AL SC order.

    Equality Alabama is a premier pro ME organization that chose the higher road to respond to the Liberty Counsel petition for a writ of mandamus in an appropriate way and not join the very unprofessional fray that Liberty Counsel is trying to create.

    Bad behavior on one side never sanctions the same by the other.

  • 50. Steve84  |  February 14, 2015 at 9:34 am

    If you want sane judges who base their decisions on the law instead of politics, you shouldn't elect them.

  • 51. Decided_Voter  |  February 14, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Finish The Job. Sage advice in The Advocate from the smart and clever Evan Wolfson:

    More sage words from others in the community (Washington Blade – Chris Johnson):

  • 52. JayJonson  |  February 14, 2015 at 10:12 am

    The members of this court are politicians. They run for election. Therefore, they will do stupid things to pander to the yahoos who vote them into office. Considering the man they elected twice as Chief Justice, once after he was thrown out for incompetence and defiance of the law, it is amazing that two of them had enough sense to dissent from the decision to require responses to this nonsense. I would not be surprised if they wind up doing something really stupid.

  • 53. JayJonson  |  February 14, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I would think VIRick might have at least enough sense of irony to avoid demeaning people who live in mobile homes in a post attacking "redneck trailer-trash" for belittling and demeaning others. It is no more appealing for people to make fun of others for being poor than it is for people to make fun of us for being gay.

    We are all frustrated by the shenanigans of Roy Moore and his ilk, but it is not helpful to make such comments. Having myself grown up in very poor circumstances, I resent the idea that simply because someone is poor they are "trash." In fact, my own experience tells me that such statements are not only offensive, they are also untrue.

    In fact, those comments partake of the same kind of war against the poor that the Republicans regularly wage, and usually recruit the lower middle-class to join just so that they can feel superior to someone else. They really have no place on a board like this.

  • 54. hopalongcassidy  |  February 14, 2015 at 11:11 am

    It's only demeaning if you happen to be a trailer-trash redneck. I'm sure you are not.
    I'm not either, and I have a trailer at the lake.

  • 55. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Maybe these so-called 'Xians' should actually read their bibble.

    John 13:34 (King James Version):
    "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

    They want to call themselves 'follower of X' but disobey him? Don't they consider X to be the son of god and/or god? Isn't disobeying god a sin?

    So why don't they treat others as they would want to be treated themselves, per their X's commandment?

  • 56. hopalongcassidy  |  February 14, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    They aren't very fond of Matthew 6:5 or Exodus 31:15 either. It isn't difficult to see why.

    Rules of bible quoting:

    Whenever a bible passage can be used to support someone's belief and bigotry, that passage is clear, stands on its own, and does not depend on any other context or special interpretation.

    Whenever someone points out any of the hundreds of bible passages showing god literally ordering or approving killing of children,
    raping of young girls, correct treatment of slaves, death penalty
    for minor infractions, and genocide, the proper response is

    (pick one or more of the following):

    1. It is taken out of context
    2. Can only be understood by special understanding of context
    3. The OT is not relevant
    4. God can't be understood by humans
    5. This is selective quoting
    6. The quoter doesn't understand the bible
    7. God didn't say that, he was "misquoted"
    8. God meant some special application, such as to Israelites or
    ancient clergy, etc.

  • 57. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    "Bad behavior on one side never sanctions the same by the other."

    IMO, a different way to say 'two wrongs don't make a right.'

  • 58. hopalongcassidy  |  February 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Anyone who thinks the xian bible is a 'good' (much less THE 'good book') book has never bothered to actually read it, with a halfway open mind and a functional bullshit detector.

    Short piece, worth a quick read.

  • 59. hopalongcassidy  |  February 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    We won't ever know who said it first, but we should never forget

    "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

  • 60. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    In the mid-1980s, I had an experience with such a Catholic Hospital – Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.

    My other half was injured in a work accident which required stitches and a couple days stay in the hospital (glass falling from above cut his arm from shoulder to fingers, with subsequent loss of major amounts of blood).

    If I had stated that I was a friend of Hans, I would have been allowed to visit Hans in the hospital. I stated that he was my other half, and thus the hospital banned me from visiting him.

    (The accident Hans was involved in was decades prior to Maryland requiring hospitals to allow anyone to visit the patient [unless the patient specifically prohibited that person from visiting them, or the hospital had provable reasons to prohibit a person or persons from visiting patients], and before the state had ME).

  • 61. hopalongcassidy  |  February 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    There is no such thing as 'sin'. It is a completely arbitrary, illusory,

    artificial, capricious and irrational concept that varies according to

    which delusional belief system is attempting to define it.

    What is 'sin' to one 'believer' is holy sacrament
    to others, and vice versa. Make believe gods
    have no connection to the real world and neither
    does the imaginary Satan that some people claim to
    believe in.

  • 62. Steve84  |  February 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    People should wear medical bracelets stating that they don't want to be taken to Catholic hospitals in case of an emergency. It's a seriously bad idea. Not just for gays, but also for pregnant women and people requiring end-of-life decisions to be made.

    Unfortunately, in many places that's difficult or even impossible.

  • 63. ReadLearn  |  February 14, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I agree. This court WILL do something stupid. That is almost a given.

  • 64. ReadLearn  |  February 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Excellent post! Thank you.

  • 65. sfbob  |  February 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Consistency and fidelity take second place to their entirely non-religious, bigoted agenda.

  • 66. Sagesse  |  February 14, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Thomas Jefferson? I know there is some dispute about the origins of the quote. Like the idea that it was Jefferson.

  • 67. hopalongcassidy  |  February 14, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I like it too but it seems it predates TJ by a fair bit. Like I said, it's impossible to find out now who actually coined the phrase. It's a bit like the "golden rule"…which is the English equivalent of an intuitive maxim that is pretty much understood, in principle for sure, by all sentient critters.

  • 68. Eric  |  February 14, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Ezekiel 23:20 comes to mind as an example.

  • 69. VIRick  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    "And it's not just Judge Moore: have you forgotten the probate judges in most of the counties? The legislators and voters who passed this horsepucky in the first place and continue to vote down protections for LGBT people?"

    Thanks. Yes, it's a much broader entrenched system than just a single individual, and given that so many governmental positions in Alabama are elected positions, it's also reflective of an electorate who votes for such people, and thus maintains this retrograde, entrenched system. As witnessed during the Civil Rights era, the long- established voting/political/judicial system in the "Alabama black belt" was horrific. The entrenched system in the several major cities, Birmingham and Montgomery, was equally horrific. Those parts of Alabama have changed to some degree. But not every part of Alabama has.

  • 70. sfbob  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    What consists of a sin and what doesn't seems mainly to be determined by who runs things.

  • 71. VIRick  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Hop, I was attempting to present a broad demographic picture of some of the more recalcitrant areas of Alabama. In the deep South, I fully realize that "redneck trailer trash" truly resent being called "redneck trailer trash," but it's about the only way to gain their attention. And one needs to gain their attention before they can be told.

    And by the way, has anyone else ever been to the grossly mis-named place called Centre AL? It's not the center of anything, not even of itself, as Centre has no center. But that tiny crossroads is the designated county seat for Cherokee County, and thus comes complete with its own elected probate judge (and not much else, beyond a scattering of single-wides and double-wides).

    And has anyone else ever been to the sheriff's office in Bridgeport AL? That's a scene straight out of the movie, "In the Heat of the Night." Bubba was in charge, complete with gun, smirk, swagger, and well-nourished beer belly, totally idle, with his feet up on the desk, swatting flies, in sultry 110 degree heat. There is no bridge in Bridgeport, and it was never a port. Even the antiquated pull-chain ferry service across the Tennessee River had been abandoned, and its rusting signage had already been well-used for target practice. And that's about it, besides the scattering of single-wides and double-wides.

  • 72. ReadLearn  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Most of the counties were complying. Only 16 were not. Now, after this thing has been filed, they might go back to not complying.

  • 73. ReadLearn  |  February 14, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Well, anyway, I hope this situation doesn't give the probate judges,most of whom had complied with issuing SS marriage licenses, an excuse to go back to non-compliance, claiming "confusion" again.

  • 74. VIRick  |  February 14, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Jay, before you take too much personal offense from my comments, please note that there's a fairly perverse gay comedy film about southern "trailer trash" called "Sordid Lives."

  • 75. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 14, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Unfortunately, I concur with your concerns.

  • 76. Sagesse  |  February 14, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Judge Bobby Martin is one of the probate judges names in the petition.

    Tangled up over tying the knot [Washington Post]

  • 77. VIRick  |  February 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    The vote was 6-2 (apparently with Moore recused).

  • 78. Raga  |  February 14, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Oh look – West Virginia town of five residents unanimously adopts LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination law, setting a national record for the smallest town to enact LGBT protections:

    They even have an Amtrak station:,_West_Virgi

  • 79. Steve84  |  February 15, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Invent the sickness and sell the cure. A most lucrative scam.

  • 80. hopalongcassidy  |  February 15, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Which is actually a hilarious flick if one just dials down the "oh my poor widdle feewings are hurt" control just a tad.

  • 81. hopalongcassidy  |  February 15, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Of course. I doubt you would have gotten any grief if you had written about "assholes who live in mansions"…

    Aside from a couple quick in & outs at 'burning ham', my time in AL has been pretty much restricted to Mobile which actually is a pretty decent city. I remember one bar there…….

  • 82. Sagesse  |  February 15, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Almost everything you ever wanted to know about Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. It doesn't mention his $400,000 salary from the Foundation for Moral Law which he founded, and which his wife runs while he's busy being Chief Justice.

    Who is Roy Moore? Alabama's Ten Commandments Judge takes on same-sex marriage []

  • 83. JayJonson  |  February 15, 2015 at 8:40 am

    There is nothing in your remarks, VIRick, that I take personally or, hopalongcassidy, hurt "my poor widdle feelings." But calling poor people "trailer trash" is actually a very trashy thing to do. But then you two would fail to get the irony since you seem to post a lot of trashy comments here (along with some helpful posts as well).

    This is a serious forum. Your habit of calling people trash, rednecks, cocksuckers, and other inappropriate terms does not contribute to the value of the site. But what is worse is that you seem to lack the capacity to realize your own hypocrisy: in the post at issue even as you criticize "redneck trailer-trash" for allegedly belittling and demeaning others, you belittle and demean people who have committed the "crime" of being poor.

    Your habit of belittling and demeaning people is bad enough when your targets are people who demean us for being gay, but when you attack people simply because they are poor, that just reveals you as bullies who would do the same thing to others that you complain about being done to you.

    And if you think "Sordid Lives" is simply about having fun at the expense of "trailer trash," I think you have no idea of what the play, movie, and television series is really about. Del Shores' work is actually a paean to the resilience and humanity of people who are called "trailer trash" by local elites who think they are better than anyone else.

  • 84. hopalongcassidy  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:04 am

  • 85. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Jay is right. You do have a habit of throwing up highly insensitive mouth diarrhea and then, when confronted, turn into a petulant six-year-old.

  • 86. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Well said, Jay dear.

  • 87. JayJonson  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Thank you for the supportive comment, Wolf of Raging Fires.

    We need to keep this site focused on the important issues of equality and we need to maintain a certain level of decorum and respect for others.

    VIRick and hopalong have made some valuable contributions to this site, and I have learned from them; but some of their comments have been as distracting as that of the trolls who occasionally come here.

    In any case, the site is too important for us to countenance gross violations of community guidelines.

  • 88. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 10:18 am

    "…. if you had written about "assholes who live in mansions"… "

    Oh wait! That's coming up next. I haven't gotten to Shelby County yet.

    Shelby County is beginning to show itself as a major problem spot, fresh from its "victory" in successfully gutting portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a law specifically aimed at voters just like them.

    In the wake of the successful integration efforts during the Civil Rights era, the most hateful bigots with money packed up and moved out of Birmingham and Jefferson County, and crossed over the county line into Shelby County, where the proverbial "assholes who live in mansions" now hold sway.

    The current elected probate judge of Shelby County, who has the incredible surname of Fuhrmeister, is a good example.

    Actually, we should contrast this with the welcoming warmth, grace, and charm extended in Huntsville during its first, very successful "Wedding Week" celebrations, as they really showed everyone in northern-most Alabama how to do things in a positive, up-beat manner, a united civic gesture which had definite positive reverberations throughout all the adjacent counties in that portion of the state.

  • 89. DACiowan  |  February 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

    A day in the life of an Alabama judge coming to terms with the ruling:

  • 90. JayJonson  |  February 15, 2015 at 11:48 am

    New Arkansas suit to force recognition of marriages performed in the window before the decision declaring their ban unconstitutional was stayed. Discussed at Towleroad:

  • 91. Sagesse  |  February 15, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Another Alabama county heard from…

    Ala. Probate Judge Knocks Chief Justice: I'm On 'Right Side Of History' [TPM]

  • 92. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    You know, I really like this guy, Probate Judge Bobby Martin. Plus that's a very well-written article highlighting the human side of the equation.

    He did his job; he issued a license to a same-sex couple under the mantra, "Licenses to everyone." And life goes on, both for him and for everyone else.

  • 93. 1grod  |  February 15, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Sagesse – not just another, but 1st to issue a license, probate judge Stephen Reed of Montgomery Co was elected in 2012, Native of the county, Judge Reed holds a Masters in Business Administration.

  • 94. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Actually, we've been hearing from Montgomery County probate judge, Steven L. Reed, all along, as he was ready to go with marriage equality the instant Judge Granade struck down the ban, prior to her instituting the 2-week stay. Even more importantly, because he placed Montgomery County on the leading edge in favor of marriage equality, his actions brought almost the entire "Alabama black belt" along with him (that 12 county swath of green surrounding Montgomery, and extending westward, that manifested itself on the maps fairly early on).

  • 95. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    His comments really need to be quoted in their entirety, given his strong position, and his aptly descriptive use of the word, "blovitating:"

    "Alabama Probate Judge Steven Reed on Sunday (15 February 2015) said he had no problem defying the chief justice's order not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples after a federal court struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban. 'There was no hesitation. At the time Chief Justice Moore had not started bloviating on this topic and so there was no need to defy because I didn't ask for his opinion and frankly didn't need it,' Reed said on ABC's "This Week" about his decision to begin issuing gay marriage licenses. Reed was the first probate judge to say he would issue licenses to same-sex couples. He said he did not care if Chief Justice Roy Moore and Alabama residents oppose gay marriage.

    'We're a nation of laws, not of men, and so we are sworn to uphold an oath in the probate court and that's what we do, we uphold the oath as it relates to the state constitution and the U.S. constitution,' he said. 'And so we understand that we can't bring politics and personal feelings into decisions that we make day-to-day.'

    'I think it was a desperate attempt to defy the federal government,' he said about Moore's order. 'I think that's what places Alabama a step backwards in some people's eyes when they see things like this happen, the defiance and the resistance.

    And I think that we're (speaking for those in favor of marriage equality and for following federal court orders) on the front side of this and we're on the right side of history where this is concerned.'"

  • 96. hopalongcassidy  |  February 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    You might want to clutch those pearls a bit less tightly, they are cutting off oxygen to your brain. I haven't said anything untrue or even inappropriate, and I damn sure ain't about to apologize for any of my comments.

  • 97. hopalongcassidy  |  February 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Well, for sure raging heterosexuals don't have a monopoly on whining, as evidenced in this here forum where some have no sense of humor. They really need to get over themselves.

  • 98. F_Young  |  February 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Ku Klux Klan issues ‘call to arms’ in Alabama over gay marriage ruling

    'The fudge packers from Hollywood are shocked the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their imperialist, communist homosexual agenda!'

  • 99. guitaristbl  |  February 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    They are supporting Moore :) ! Seems like he found his best and most loyal supporters here.

  • 100. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 15, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Did I ask you to apologize? I wouldn't ask you to do something I know you are incapable of doing. You did, however, make my point for me.

  • 101. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Notice carefully, though, who is claiming to be coming to Moore's "rescue:"

    "Brent Waller, the imperial wizard of the United Dixie White Knights in Mississippi, 'saluted' Alabama chief justice Roy Moore for refusing to bow to the yoke of federal tyranny."

    These are the "good ol' boys" from around the Tupelo area, hyper-ventilating because they already realize that Mississippi's turn is coming soon. And if any state is going to be more ridiculously obfuscating than Alabama, it will be Mississippi.

    Also, one really has to "love" this kind of warped historical analysis: "…. that the outside forces that have ruled this nation since the end of the War of Northern Aggression be given notice."

  • 102. scream4ever  |  February 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Tupalo also had the highest rates of pre-release ticket sales for 50 Shades of Grey lol

  • 103. DeadHead  |  February 15, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I am always suspect of virulently anti gay people. A slight scratch on the surface usually reveals a self hating, repressive and closeted gay person. Which makes them even more pathetic. And when they hide their faces/bodies with those hooded gowns it makes them a coward.

  • 104. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    This article is a good synopsis, drawing the parallei between Roy Moore and George Wallace on the matter of "states' rights" and the whole issue of Civil Rights, given that it's essentially the same re-cycled argument from the two of them:

  • 105. 1grod  |  February 15, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Tuesday will be interesting because at least three counties said [on Friday] they expect to provide licenses to all.
    Wikipedia list 52 counties being 86% of the state's population.

  • 106. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Even late on a Sunday night, we have some interesting developments:

    Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King,…. in a motion Sunday (15 February 2015) to U.S. District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade in Mobile, stated that the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday (13 February 2015) voted 6-2 to hear a petition submitted last week by two groups – Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program – seeking a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses by state probate judges, including King.

    The Alabama Supreme Court ordered King and other probate judges to submit responses by 5 p.m., 18 February 2015. King's attorneys write that API and ALCAP are "acting in concert with" state officials to "improperly attempt" to seek from the Alabama Supreme Court a further stay of Granade's prior orders "in violation of the injunctions issued by this court."

    King's attorneys, Jeff Sewell, French McMillan, and Shawanna Smith, laid out the potential problem King faces in the motion. "Judge King faces an imminent risk of being subjected to a state court order that will put him in the position of having to choose either to disregard the United States Constitution, which he is sworn to uphold, thereby subjecting him to liability and perhaps personal liability for damages and attorney fees, or to disregard a state court order thereby subjecting him to contempt proceedings, sanctions and/or possible impeachment under Alabama law," King's motion states. "Judge King seeks relief from this court."

    Judge King, in the motion filed late Sunday, seeks to intervene in the federal court case of James N. Strawser and John E. Humphrey. That is one of two cases Granade, of Mobile, is presiding over involving issues surrounding same-sex marriage.

    Granade on Thursday had ordered Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to start granting marriage licenses to gay couples after the four couples represented in the Strawser lawsuit asked her to intervene. Davis began issuing licenses after that order.

  • 107. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    This is again a perfect example, amongst many, of why SCOTUS needs to rule on the marriage cases swiftly (not that they will be particularly swift about it).

  • 108. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    I know. SCOTUS is sooooo slow, and the procedure is sooooo dragged out. The "DeBoer" case is already 2 years old, and feels like ancient history that it's still under consideration, while the other 3 cases before them are all well over a year old.

  • 109. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    What did Brandall call it? SCOTUS operates on a principle of judicial drama. They play things out slowly and suspensefully, even as the world burns around them. They always do it too. Those nine men and women are our true rulers, you see, and the realization that their actions make for groundshaking theatre does not escape them.

  • 110. F_Young  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    VIRick: "Even late on a Sunday night, we have some interesting developments:"

    Thanks for posting this, Rick. I don't know what the repercussions of this could be, but I think they might be pretty big.

  • 111. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Oh, it's huge. Basically put, Probate Judge King has requested to intervene in "Strawser" so that Judge Granade can clarify for a third time (each probate judge, in turn, can follow after him, so she can continue to clarify, as many times as necessary, for the next one, and then the next one, etc.) that a federal court trumps any/all state courts, even the Alabama Supreme Court. Judge King went to the correct authority, and wisely, did not wait until his totally unnecessary response is due before the Alabama Supreme Court.

    Obviously, the Alabama Supreme Court should never have entertained this writ of mandamus from an outside third party, let alone one that's on a matter which is not even before the Alabama Supreme Court, and from an outside third party which has no standing. I mean, this is histrionic George Wallace-time all over again, and proof positive as to why state court judges should never be elected, as they're really politicians pretending to be judges.

    For a while, I erroneously thought that the Alabama probate judges were all a bunch of amateurs. Some are, of course. But, some definitely are not. In the beginning, we heard from a variety of the more outlandish yay-hoos, a point which created that false impression. Now we're hearing from the serious professionals. I fully expect the Montgomery County Probate Judge to follow Judge King's lead and ask to intervene. And the judge from Chilton County should do likewise. As should the judge from Madison County.

  • 112. F_Young  |  February 15, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    VIRick: "…federal court trumps any/all state courts, even the Alabama Supreme Court."

    IANAL, but I suspect that the authority of federal courts, other than SCOTUS, over state courts and officials, when there is a conflicting order of a state court, is not settled. In fact, I was under the impression that the federal courts, other than SCOTUS, do not have such authority.

    I am beginning to think that this case may need to go all the way to SCOTUS to settle that question.

  • 113. F_Young  |  February 15, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Gay marriage: ‘A hot spur’ to Texans

    This article includes a brief overview of anti-gay bills and resolutions pending in Texas.

  • 114. VIRick  |  February 15, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    '…. there is a conflicting order of a state cout …."

    There is no state court order. I can't argue the rest of what you're stating because you're jumping way ahead of that first point.

    The Alabama Supreme Court simply needs to dismiss this motion for a writ of mandamus sought by Liberty Counsel. I can't fathom why they'd even entertain the request, other than to self-manufacture their own "crisis."

  • 115. F_Young  |  February 15, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    VIRick: "self-manufacture their own "crisis."

    I suspect that that is what they want.

  • 116. jm64tx  |  February 16, 2015 at 4:16 am

    "a federal court trumps any/all state courts, even the Alabama Supreme Court".

    "…[W]e have concluded that the judgment of the District Court, enjoining appellant Younger from prosecuting under these California statutes, must be reversed as a violation of the national policy forbidding federal courts to stay or enjoin pending state court proceedings except under special circumstances."

    Younger v. Harris 401 US 37.

    So, according to SCOTUS, federal district courts do not trump state courts.

  • 117. Eric  |  February 16, 2015 at 6:28 am

    If this was a criminal case and there was an active state court action, then Younger might apply.

    Case law isn't like the Bible, you can't cherry pick sentences out of context to justify your position.

  • 118. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 16, 2015 at 6:36 am

    In the case of the relationship between federal courts (district and district courts of appeal) and state courts (including state supreme courts) they are dual parallel judicial systems. Orders and rulings of neither is binding on the other. Only SCOTUS can set precedent over state supreme courts.

    However having said that, Judge Hinkle quoted by Judge Grande informed us in a marvelous civic lesson that the clerks of Florida or the probate judges of Alabama were not bound by the district court’s order but, they were bound by the fourteenth amendment of the U S Constitution. That is because it is in the authority of the federal district court to declare a state law unconstitutional.

    What Judge Alan King’s attorneys did was nothing short of brilliant. Judge King is voluntarily requesting to become an intervener defendant in the Strawser et. al v Strange and Davis. Judge King is then protected by the U S Constitution when he continues to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

  • 119. JayJonson  |  February 16, 2015 at 7:12 am

    We should send a copy of this article to Sutton for it gives the lie to the belief that in a democratic society individual rights will necessarily be vindicated. As the article indicates, our democracy has become seriously broken. In Texas, a plurality supports same-sex marriage ((last poll I saw had 48% in favor and 43% opposed), yet any hope of passing a bill authorizing marriage equality in the Texas legislature would be delusional. The Republicans, who have an overwhelming majority in the legislature and hold all the state-wide offices, could care a whit about what the people actually want. They care only about the voters in the Republican primary. Those voters, who are unrepresentative of the voters as a whole, are opposed to same-sex marriage. To pander to them, the legislators and state officials have crafted all sorts of "rules" to prevent change. The only way to secure constitutional rights in a state like Texas is through the Courts.

    To suggest that Courts should defer to "the people" is naive insofar as it presupposes a fair playing field in which competing ideas and interests are fairly considered and decided; but, in Sutton's case, it is also disingenuous since he knows full well how broken our government is and how real democracy has been deliberately limited by special interests of all kinds. Luckily, Justice Kennedy has been especially eloquent about why the constitutional rights of gay people must be protected by the Courts–moral disapproval is not a compelling reason to limit the liberty interests of a free people.

  • 120. Tony MinasTirith  |  February 16, 2015 at 7:15 am

    You can bet that Texas republicans are taking detailed notes on all this massive resistance from Alabama. If the 5th CA upholds the court below, Texas is going to put up a fight like a cat in a wet bag.

    Another 'Bama legislator is promising to find and use any and all means of the legislature to reverse SSM. Let's see if either the legislature or Moore try to order state troopers to block the court houses or arrest judges complying with the federal court order in a next step. At the moment Moore has had only his loud mouth and the power of his pen. He has taken to the national news outlets to take his defiance show on the road, but has ultimately failed to stop the tide of equality from washing into Alabama. Luckily gov Bentley is not so far throwing in with Moore. Moore makes it clear that he beleives he is the pinnacle of law…period. His colleagues kicked him to thnot e curb once before. Let's hope his new colleagues understand that as the Nation goes in June so will Alabama and kick him to the curb again. Moore's hubris will be his undoing… sooner or later. There may be some gray law when it comes to conflict between state and federal courts, but Obama is correct, that ultimately Federal Law is superior to state laws after SCOTUS rules. Otherwise we'd still have miscegenation, sodomy, and abortion laws in force.

    Let's hope all this defiance and attempts to incite insurrection will steel the resolve of SCOTUS to strike down these unconstitutional and immoral laws once and for good. And perhaps they will do so with a broader majority and killing anti gay legislation in its heart with strict scrutiny. Judge Posner could put all these anti gay southerners in their place, I'd venture. Too bad he isn't in the 11th circuit.

  • 121. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 16, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I would posit that Judge Posner was right where the proponents of ME needed him in the 7th circuit. We had two 2-1 split decision wins in the 10th and 4th circuits. Then with Judge Posner's leadership we had an unusually swift unanimous win in the 7th circuit at a critical time.

    In the meantime, the 11th circuit is siding with us in an appropriate way at this stage of the proceedings. The denial of stays was no small win for ME.

  • 122. Zack12  |  February 16, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Sutton isn't the only judge to make that case.
    When the Windsor case was decided at the 2nd Circuit, the dissenting judge, Chester Straub (a very prominent Democrat in NY) talked about how it would demean the Democratic process if the Federal Courts decided DOMA and that NY was an example of a "proper" way to get marriage equality since it was done through the legislature.
    He of course failed to mention the very ugly five years of hell same sex couples in NY went through and that a DOMA repeal was NEVER going to happen with Republicans in control.
    And of course, like Sutton and Cook, Straub also ignores the fact that many same sex couples don't have the luxury of waiting 5-10 years or more for the public and legislature to decide whether we deserve rights or not.

  • 123. JayJonson  |  February 16, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Yes. Straub's faith in New York democracy was especially absurd, since "democracy" in the New York legislature for many years has been basically a negotiation–replete with favors given or denied–between three people: the governor, the House leader, and the Senate leader.

    I remember how disappointing it was in 2006, when the high courts of New York and Washington (states widely considered liberal) in quick succesion issued rulings saying that their constitutions did not require marriage equality. The New York ruling was 4-2. The majority simply had no interest in justice. But then Chief Justice Judith Kaye wrote a beautiful dissent and predicted that in the future the decision would be reviled.

    Five years later, however, with newly-elected Governor Cuomo working closely with gay groups, and after an extensive (and expensive) media campaign, justice finally prevailed. I don't know if that triumph had as much to do with democracy as with proper circumstances, hard work, and the alignment of the stars. But New Yorkers were clearly ready for marriage equality and conscious of the injustice then prevailing.

  • 124. Zack12  |  February 16, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I still remember the sting of that 06 ruling.
    There were two seperate options on that one.
    The first one, written by Judge Robert S. Smith is basically what Sutton wrote word per word with some extra venom towards same sex couples throw in..
    That option wasn't as insulting as the one Victoria Graffeo wrote.
    She actually tried to write a "friendlier" option with the absurd idea she wouldn't come off as a bigot if she did that.
    It didn't work and when her 14 year term, ended, Cuomo choose not to renominate her, despite the howlings from the Republicans and religious Reich here in NY.
    Her supporters talked about how she was a moderate judge and was no Scalia or Alito.
    She might as well have been because she ruled against the LGBT community every chance she got.
    Life for LGBT New Yorkers is better know that she and Judge Smith are off the bench where they can't hurt us anymore.

  • 125. guitaristbl  |  February 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

    He strikes again :

    There must be something that can be done..What's going on with that ethics complain, how long do such complaints take to be considered ? Can SCOTUS issue some disciplinary action against him or bar him from sitting on any bench ever ?

    There must be a law that says that something can be done when such a psychopath holds such an influential position. It's scary !

  • 126. JayJonson  |  February 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I had forgotten almost everything about that ruling except how infuriating it was. I am glad to learn that Graffeo at least paid a price for her "friendlier" bigotry. As though the wound hurts less if it is administered with a smile rather than a grimace.

    I think one measure of how the world has changed a bit is that now even Scalia feels that he must reassure the nation that he is no bigot!

  • 127. VIRick  |  February 16, 2015 at 10:59 am

    "Judge King is then protected by the U S Constitution when he continues to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. "

    Yes, it's a huge move, brilliantly thought out. It's exactly what Judge Hinkle in Florida hinted at in his own "Order of Clarification." Everyone in Florida, though, managed to get the message the first time around, so it was not necessary for him to re-clarify. Since Judge Granade did a copy-and-paste from Judge Hinkle's order, and has already had to do two "Orders of Clarification," she can just keep right on reclarifying her reclarification as many times at required.

    The other probate judges in Alabama need to do precisely what Judge King of Birmingham has done (and need to do it now, before the Alabama Supreme Court does something stupid), that is, seek to become an intervenor defendant in "Strawser" so that Judge Granade can specifically reclarify her order for him (just as she has already done for the Probate Judge of Mobile County), and in turn, keep right on going, and reclarify her reclarification for each and every last one of the other probate judges.

    I love it,– Judge King is voluntarily requesting to be told (not so much for his own sake, but rather, for the sake of the idiots running the state of Alabama).

  • 128. VIRick  |  February 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Moore must be a certified mental case:

    "…. marriage, which came from God under our organic law …."

    What in the world is he talking about???

  • 129. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Wow. Just wow. He basically is stating he will commit treason and violate his oath. Let's just dispose of him now.

  • 130. davepCA  |  February 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Yikes. This guy doesn't even know what marriage really is or where it came from.

  • 131. Zack12  |  February 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Indeed, times have changed for us.
    P.S. One thing I hate about not being able to edit, I noticed two different writing errors in my response to you but I can't fix them now.. arrrghh!

  • 132. KnottiBuoy  |  February 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I somewhat suspect this is more about an opportune business issue, by being in the limelight long enough to solicit even more contributions to his family charity. I'm reminded of the song from Evita "…and the money kept rolling in from everywhere."

  • 133. VIRick  |  February 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Well, to paraphrase Tina Turner:

    "What's God got to do with it??"

    And then there's something he calls "our organic law." Could that be what happens when certain "approved" organs get rubbed together? Otherwise, I'm totally mystified.

  • 134. VIRick  |  February 16, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    That, plus the distinct possibility that since he claims he grew up in a household that didn't have indoor plumbing, he wants to ensure that that scenario will never recur. On this level, he's reminding me a lot of Tammy Faye Bakker (but minus the heavy make-up).

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!