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Alabama marriage equality updates 5/8

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Alabama state sealThere are finally some new updates from Alabama. When we last heard news on the potential class-action challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban, Judge Granade denied motions to dismiss the (amended) complaint, filed by Attorney General Luther Strange, Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis, and Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell. The amended complaint changed the case to a class-action challenge across the state. You can read it here.

– Attorney General Luther Strange’s answer to the complaint is here.

– Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell’s answer to the complaint is here.

– Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis’ answer to the complaint is here.

There’s nothing really exceptional in the answers. They just deny that the plaintiffs deserve relief from the court, and discuss the possibility of waiting until the Supreme Court decides the issue at the end of June.

– Baldwin County’s probate judge has filed a motion asking the court to reconsider its decision on his motion to dismiss. He argues that he has “quasi judicial immunity” from the lawsuit, and can’t be subjected to an injunction or attorneys’ fees.

As always, we’ll report on anything new in the case. The court has yet to decide whether it will certify plaintiffs and defendants as a class and issue a preliminary injunction that would apply statewide.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

22 Comments

  • 1. robbyinflorida  |  May 8, 2015 at 8:24 am

    There’s nothing really exceptional in the answers.

  • 2. DrBriCA  |  May 8, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Federal Judge in Guam will not hold the case in abeyance until after SCOTUS rules, but she will allow a two week extension to give time for the "Special Attorney General" newly assigned to the case. Defendants' brief due by May 18. Plaintiff's response by May 22. Hearing set for summary judgment and preliminary injunction on June 5.
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/264637246/1-15-cv-0000https://www.facebook.com/EqualityCaseFiles?fref=t

  • 3. guitaristbl  |  May 8, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Nothing we didn't know here.

    Has anyone followed the uk election ? The worst (UKIP with any kind of power) has been avoided but the outright conservative majority, even under Cameron, is not good news either for any progress on LGBT rights, quite the opposite given their intention to withdraw from the EU and the European Court of Human Rights :(
    Also plans for elaborate sex education that Labour pledged to introduce are probably going to the bin as well.
    At least he won't need to rule with the northern irish version of the GOP – the DUP.

  • 4. SethInMaryland  |  May 8, 2015 at 9:31 am

    The conservatives in the uk are so different then the ones here in the us, almost half of them voted for the marriage equality bill , david cameron who's been a strong ally has been very good at getting his party to vote for lgbt bills, there are torys membs who are part of lgbt community. This result doesn't scare as me as much, i was more worried ukip would make large gains, as for the other issue that is different matter, that election was mainly over the eu and the economy, i'd dream to have an election like the uk in the us where most of the ppl running support equality but have ideas of how fix the economy and education diferently

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  May 8, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Still with such a thin majority and a considerable amount of right wing lunatics in parliament (yes almost half of the tory MPs in the previous parliament voted for marriage equality but the majority still did not), Cameron will need to appease them which means zero more progress on LGBT rights. Plus he has promised to take the UK out of EU AND the juristiction of the european court of human rights, a court that has provided big victories for LGBT people in the past (e.q. gay ban in the army).
    Yes there are good tories but that does not cancel the influence of the many bad ones.
    All of the tories who have made anti-LGBT statements during the marriage debate and before and after that have been relected. Homophobia is alive in the UK as well. We may not see it as much as in the US but its lurking and rises at such times of political and financial turmoil.

  • 6. SethInMaryland  |  May 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

    No cameron has said he will allow a referendum on the issue of the eu, he never said he supported it , infact he has said it would be better for them not to leave, i don't think a referendum will pass anyway, Scotland will vote90 to 10 against, plus largely london also go aginstt it, as for lgbt right bills , he gave his membs a conscience votes on lgbt bills last time around and with a combo of tory members and other partys pass those bills, cameron has made pledge to ban gay "conversation therapy" and i believe he uphold that promise just he has done before on otger bills

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  May 8, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Seth is correct – Cameron is a knuckle-walker on Internet freedom issues, but he is also a very clever Justice Kennedy kind of conservative. Cameron dragged his own party toward gay marriage over very stiff opposition and won. I wouldn't be surprised to see Justice Kennedy actually quoting David Cameron in the Obergefell opinion:
    ——
    David Cameron: ‘Gay marriage is something I believe we can be proud of as a country’

    …The Prime Minister, who backed commitment between same-sex couples in his first party conference speech as Conservative leader in a 2005 speech said in 2011: “I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and a woman. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.

    “And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/07/17/david-camero
    ——
    Gay Marriage Becomes Legal In The UK Because Conservative David Cameron Had The Guts To Stand Up To His Own Party

    …back in 2007, before he was Prime Minister and when he had been party leader for just two years, [David Cameron] said this to an audience of Conservative Party members:

    "There's something special about marriage. It's not about religion. It's not about morality. It's about commitment. When you stand up there, in front of your friends and your family, in front of the world, whether it's in a church or anywhere else, what you're doing really means something. Pledging yourself to another means doing something brave and important. You are making a commitment. You are publicly saying: it's not just about me, me me anymore. It is about we – together, the two of us, through thick and thin. That really matters. And by the way, it means something whether you're a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man. That's why we were right to support civil partnerships, and I'm proud of that."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/david-camerons-sup
    ——
    David Cameron: Same-sex marriage was one of my proudest achievements in 2014

    …When asked about gay couples kissing last summer, Mr Cameron said: “No, that’s fine! I’ve been very clear about this.

    “If I can kiss my wife in public, I don’t see why you can’t kiss your husband in public.”

    Writing for PinkNews last March, he said: “The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are.

    “It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth.

    “It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay.”

    <a href="http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/01/10/david-cameron-same-sex-marriage-was-one-of-my-proudest-achievements-in-2014/” target=”_blank”>http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/01/10/david-camero

  • 8. 1grod  |  May 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Nervous Nellie On April 28 Pike County AL commissioners considered probate judge Wes Allen's request to move money within his budget so that he could retain an out-of-county lawyer in anticipation of Judge C. Granade naming all probate judges as a defendant class. The request for now was denied. http://www.troymessenger.com/2015/04/29/judges-re

  • 9. 1grod  |  May 9, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Pastor of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery AL: I have been horrified … of the religious freedoms [bills] popping up in recent months and the idea that religious freedom has something to do with the rights of individuals to apply their personal biases against their fellow citizens." http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/lo

  • 10. mu2  |  May 9, 2015 at 7:13 am

    More crap from Steve King & one avenue to fight the SOB (I have nothing to do with the gofundme, I just contributed to it) http://www.gofundme.com/thiswontstand

  • 11. Christian0811  |  May 9, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Well he said he'd push for a referendum on the EU, and the ECoHR hasn't been that great. It still ruled gains tax us in Knopp v. Austria holding that same sex couples don't deserve marriage licenses.

  • 12. RnL2008  |  May 9, 2015 at 11:04 am

    My wife started a gofundme.com account to help us out seeing as I am a Disabled Veteran…….and we got less that $500.00…..these hateful bigots like this one, the florist in Washington, the bakers in Oregon and the Pizza place in Indiana have someone make them an account and IDIOTS part with their money…….I just don't understand……and I'm like you, this is just wrong.

  • 13. RnL2008  |  May 9, 2015 at 11:06 am

    When my wife and I got married in August of 2008, the man who married us was an ordained Minister of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation……..he really took the time to meet us and get to know us before our wedding, we weren't apart of his Congregation, but if we were to ever go back to formalized religion…..this would be the one!!!

  • 14. SethInMaryland  |  May 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    We have to remember this people of the uk decision, their many people who live in the uk who support lgbt community but when it comes to the issue of the EU they feel that it has a negative impact on their economy or other issue, i can see issues with the EU that would make people want to pull out, i'm would likely vote againt it but i can see the other side of the arguement

  • 15. 1grod  |  May 10, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Georgia prepared to honour the Supreme Court's decision: http://wjcl.com/2015/04/28/georgia-preparing-to-h

  • 16. 1grod  |  May 10, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    AL Senate to consider a bill doing away with probate judges issuing marriage licenses, it being favourably approved by the Judiciary Committee on April 29. No [wedding] ceremony, a properly executed contract witnessed by two adults, attested to by a notary, an attorney or an officiant , would be filed in the probate's office. Fees would increase from $50 to $75. Senator G. Albritton said about the contract created by his bill. “They [probate judges] don’t have the authority to reject a deed, and they don’t have the authority to reject a lease. The probate judge probably won’t even see it.” Similar legislation was approved last month by the Oklahoma House. The sponsor there said it was in response to gay marriage being ruled legal in that state and was a way to sidestep government overreach. http://www.decaturdaily.com/news/capital_notes_an

  • 17. FredDorner  |  May 10, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    That's actually the correct way to do it regardless of the same-sex or mixed-race marriage issues. The solemnization of the marriage contract is a relic and should be discarded. The state only has an interest in verifying that both parties are of age and consent to the contract, and the contract need only contain a clause that both parties stipulate they are currently single.

  • 18. Sagesse  |  May 11, 2015 at 4:01 am

    "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    A grand statement, falling on their sword over the issuance of marriage licences to LGBT couples. The state laws that recognize marriage, conferring rights and responsibilities on all married couples, will all apply. Federal marriage recognition will still apply. AL would still be a marriage equality state.

    Am I missing something?

  • 19. DeadHead  |  May 11, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Republicans love to game things up with their tricks.

  • 20. 1grod  |  May 11, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Sagesse: Am I missing something? The usual elements of marriage are celebration, recognitions and effects. Senate Bill 377 addresses celebration as does House Bill 56 http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/05/alabama_… which permits officiants to decline to marry a particular couple. 377 takes away a requirement for an oral declaration of commitment. IMO 1) the AL Supreme Court March 3 order would be mooted because probate judges would not be required to determine eligibility or to issue licenses but would be required to receive 'affidates' for processing/filing. And 2) Judge Granade's naming state probate judges as a class defendants would carry less import because there of no application or licenses to issue. Regarding 3) the plaintiff class – what would be their complaint? However, it's approval at the judiciary committee is suspect: There is a 2006 constitutional Sanctity of Marriage Amendment which the AL Supreme Court has affirmed is the law. Oh, Oh, that has been ruled unconstitutional in January 2015 in Searcy I. The state must be giving recognition to Judge's Granade's ruling because it continues to recognize in- & out-of-state marriages. Could it be because AG L. Strange is prohibited from doing otherwise. 'Signifying nothing': If passed in both Houses this session, may be a way forward from a judicial impasse. Neat trick. Regarding effects, I agree with you – rights, benefits and responsibilities all apply and AL would be an equality state. Impact of Supreme Court favourable ruling – would not change 'recognition' or 'effects' but would ensure eligibility.

  • 21. StraightDave  |  May 11, 2015 at 10:33 am

    OT, but I gotta put it somewhere…

    My employer is sponsoring the following auditorium presentation this week and setting aside 1 hour of our work time to attend.
    "Marriage Equality: Jonathan Miller of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office will discuss the Supreme Court case on marriage equality".

    While this is MA, and a very enlightened place to work, I still had a gut-level reaction that we had fast-forwarded several years. Maybe it's because this goes beyond the "yeah, whatever, who cares, everyone is welcome here" attitude, which they are very sincere about. This appears to be an educational effort for those who might benefit from it. Though this state has 11 years in the ME books, many of my colleagues have not lived here that long. And it's become an invisible issue, actually totally non-existant. Not newsworthy anymore. So some clarification might be in order.

    It still feels odd, but in a very nice way, for them to be so out and forward about it. Probably not necessary but still appreciated by what must be dozens of my colleagues.This is a company that also signed the pro-ME amicus brief, but I'm just not used to big companies acting so boldly on controversial topics. Maybe the bottom line is that this has gone way beyond controversial much sooner than I expected. That must be it. (Usually stuff goes slower than I expect)

  • 22. StraightDave  |  May 11, 2015 at 10:42 am

    And AL, wtf?
    This bill appears as if it's almost a good idea and completely neutral and harmless. But that can't possibly be true since it's AL. Have they tried to sneak through something really sleazy but completely faked themselves out because they can't think straight?
    And what's the point? SCOTUS will do whatever it wants. If TX, AL, and OK think that can dodge the issue, they're on drugs. Dopey is as dopey does.
    Just beyond hopeless.

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