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Hearing set for February 12 on preliminary injunction against Mobile County probate judge

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UPDATE: the federal judge has denied the preliminary injunction in a second case, because there wasn’t enough information in the complaint and the defendants need to be served. She did, however, allow them to participate in the hearing in Strawser.

The federal district court judge who overturned Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, February 12 on the request in Strawser for an injunction requiring Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis.

The county is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and they’re seeking “clarification” from the Alabama Supreme Court.

The new federal district court order allows the lawyers involved in the Strawser case to add new plaintiffs who sought marriage licenses in Mobile County, and add the county’s probate judge as a defendant.

The hearing will take place in Mobile.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Any chance this would require Moore to be in attendance? The idea of him getting a verbal smackdown from the bench, in front of our plaintiffs, would just be sooo sweet.

  • 2. alatarus  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    THIS IS OFF TOPIC:Missouri Supreme Court sent denial of same sex divorce back to Judge to address the issue

  • 3. dlejrmex  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I really think the judge enjoyed writing that order. It sounds like… my hands are tied and so I must do this (but of course it had been made clear how to proceed in the prior denial).

    I think it is also clear that the whole "just make the AG the only defendant" is a sore point. Probably it is why the AG is not objecting to amending the complaint because he does not want to have to appear in court at this point given that.

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:05 am

    "The court notes that Attorney General Luther Strange is already subject to an injunction from this court which prohibits him from enforcing Alabama’s marriage laws to the extent they prohibit same-sex marriage or the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. Accordingly, Attorney General Strange’s presence is not required at the preliminary injunction hearing set above."

    Translation : In case you forgot Luther, you can do nothing to spoil this and I don't want you in my courtroom in case you change your mind about this motion since you would be completely useless apart from annoying.

  • 5. netoschultz  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Confirmed: Effective noon today, Barbour County is issuing #marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

  • 6. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Neto – sleuth: Barbour is added. Momentum is building towards 20 by the end of the day. Set you eyes of counties representing 50% of the population issuing licenses by the end of tomorrow!

  • 7. ReadLearn  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Two counties in the northwest of the state which were issuing licenses yesterday are no longer showing as green on the map – Fayette County and Lamar.

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Neither ever issued a license to a same-sex couple. Someone mis-interpreted their copy-and-paste phone message about following the law. Both were talking "southern code." They meant they were steadfastly following the old, voided law.

    Both are part of rural, small town "redneck heaven," so don't expect much enlightenment from that part of the state up against the Mississippi state line.

  • 9. DACiowan  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    If you look at the county results for the marriage referenda, that corner was the part of Alabama most opposed to same-sex marriage, with multiple counties voting over 90% for the ban in 2006.

    The most opposed counties in the US in the state votes were a handful of Texas panhandle counties with a few hundred people, and then the cluster of counties around Tupelo, MS and spilling into Alabama that have 20 times the population.

  • 10. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Neto: With inclusive counties on current map and Barbour, 21 counties were issuing licenses at the end of the day. Close to a third. But more significantly a growth from 9 yesterday. These 21 represent 42% of the state population. Pat's chart suggests more counties are on board. A concentration of 12 counties around Montgomery is a power base to build on. What is needed to get nearby Crenshaw and Marengo to buy in? Indeed they are among eight other who have not yet converted application into licenses. But the route to being over 50% [of the population] by tomorrow night is at least one of seven outstanding counties with a population over 100,000 such as Shelby declaring itself inclusive. .

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 11, 2015 at 9:42 am

    '…. growth from 9 yesterday."

    I'm not sure what you were counting to reach this number. At best, on the first day of issuance, there may have been 7 counties that actually issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples or were willing to do so. Only 4 issued licenses in any significant number: Etowah, Jefferson, Madison, and Montgomery. Chilton, Coffee, and Lowndes, may have issued one or two each.

    See my note above regarding Fayette and Lamar Counties talking "southern code" from "redneck heaven." Shelby County is in the same zone, so don't expect them to do the right thing. Shelby County just got through (successfully) challenging the 1965 Voting Rights Act, so they're flush with "victory" there.

    It stunned me that we got Etowah County (Gadsden), and got it big-time, as that's Roy Moore's home county.

  • 12. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:08 am


    "Lambda Legal, a gay and lesbian rights legal organization, has issued a letter to the Alabama Probate Judges Association, arguing that "the Alabama Supreme Court has made explicitly clear that the actions taken by Chief Justice Moore on February 8th are not within his authority acting alone."

    The letter is here. It is addressed to the wrong official in the Probate Judges Association, but gets the message across.

  • 13. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    After reading this letter, I guess I was wrong previously when I opined on the Chief Justice's authority to issue an administrative order that tries to control the behavior of a lower court judge. I apologize (especially to montezuma58, who had the right take on it) for that.

  • 14. brandall  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

    This will be the second best hearing to sit in on apart from the SCOTUS oral arguments later this year. Wish I could be there!

  • 15. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Doesn't Scottie live somewhere nearby?

  • 16. 1grod  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Scottie could swim there from his home across Mobile Bay.

  • 17. MichaelGrabow  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I hope he takes the Causeway over to be there in person!

  • 18. OctaA  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Scottie lives in Baldwin county, which is east of and directly adjacent to Mobile county.

  • 19. davepCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    So Scottie, what do you say? Can you attend this hearing on Thursday?

  • 20. sfbob  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

    In granting the request for a hearing, Judge Granade notes that the movants (the plaintiffs in the original suit) aren't acting in bad faith, which would be a reason to deny a request for an amended complaint. The defendants on the other hand are being remarkably duplicitous.

  • 21. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

    From Dale Carpenter, more on the People's Brief.

    Arguing animus in the gay marriage cases [Volokh Conspiracty at Washington Post]

  • 22. Sagesse  |  February 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I like the headline, but the cartoon is good too.

    Should Roy Moore be vaccinated against same-sex marriage? []

  • 23. ReadLearn  |  February 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I must say, I don't understand the Update section of this article. What happened?

  • 24. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Indeed. Who is this Paula Kay Hedgepeth person (et al), and when did she/they file for a TRO or injunction against Probate Judge Davis?

  • 25. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    See this thread, posted last night:

  • 26. A_Jayne  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Ahhh… The "new" lawsuit that was foolishly filed instead of a petition to intervene in the pending lawsuit already underway. I didn't remember the plaintiffs' names from when I read it yesterday. Thank you for pointing it out again…

    At least, in her generosity, the judge will let them participate in the hearing of the case they really should have joined…

  • 27. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Yes, Judge Granade is quite patiently and very generously "shepherding the herd," isn't she?

  • 28. ReadLearn  |  February 10, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Read and learn what Roy Moore is all about. He is profiting big time from his "non-profit" organization promoting "morality."… EXCELLENT article.

  • 29. flyerguy77  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Are there any more lawsuits for against counties/ probate judges yet I have a concern that because "Mobile CO marriage license division office" closed for all marriage licenses applicants can Don Davis say we are not denying anybody, but we are closed.. but there is must a real good reason for closing.. I hope Judge Grande will ask would you be opened if stay was granted or I didn't rule this way.. If the answer is yes.. thats the answer..

  • 30. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Today, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously reversed the sua sponte dismissal of the divorce case by the circuit court and remanded it back for consideration on the merits:

    This is purely a procedural ruling, and in no way addresses the merits of the case.

  • 31. bythesea66  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    It is still very interesting however.

  • 32. scream4ever  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Presumably since the state now recognizes same-sex marriages, divorce will now be allowed.

  • 33. VIRick  |  February 11, 2015 at 10:00 am

    That's the gist of what I understood from the Missouri Supreme Court's unanimous remand of this divorce case, "M.S. v. D.S."

    Of course, this also tips their hand as to how they intend to rule in the actual recognition appeal, "State of Missouri v. Jennifer Florida," still before the Missouri Supreme Court.

  • 34. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Yay! Refreshing to see the South Dakota Plaintiffs (following Missouri's lead yesterday) now asking for the stay to be lifted immediately:

    Come on, Arkansas Plaintiffs!

  • 35. bythesea66  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Good, good. It seems they were listening to you Raga. 😛

  • 36. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Ha ha… I really want us to get to 42 or 43 states by the end of April! If we add Missouri, Arkansas, South Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, (and perhaps Nebraska) we're gonna get there!

  • 37. DACiowan  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Don't forget Louisiana as well, plus potential clarification in Kansas.

  • 38. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Kansas is already included in the current number of 37 states, I think. The path to marriage equality in Louisiana is different from the other states, because there is no stayed injunction there. The only way to get Louisiana by April would be if the Fifth Circuit reverses by that time and doesn't stay its mandate, or, much less likely, the Louisiana Supreme Court upholds the lower court, lifting the stay. (There is a procedure of moving the Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court for an injunction pending appeal (the opposite of stay pending appeal), but it is rarely invoked, and even more rarely successful.)

  • 39. bythesea66  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Is there any avenue for GA before the nationwide ruling? I think likely not, but am not completely certain.

  • 40. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Very unlikely at this point, as no district ruling has been made specifically on the merits of the case, and that judge has frozen most of the proceedings until the Supreme Court rules. The 11th Circuit has similarly stated that it won't hear cases from AL or FL until SCOTUS rules, and it even included any potential appeals from the Georgia ruling denying the motion to dismiss.

    Only route now would be a new lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order and going to a different federal judge who is wholly sympathetic to the cause and would rule quickly without a stay.

  • 41. scream4ever  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I fully expect the 5th to not issue a permenant stay in their ruling.

  • 42. DACiowan  |  February 10, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I do think the Fifth wouldn't stay a pro-equality decision, thus reversing the district judge and giving us Louisiana as well. Although would we have to wait on Feldman to write a new, compliant ruling like In Nevada?

  • 43. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Yes, it's rare that the Circuit would issue its own injunction. It will be interesting to see if Feldman will recuse himself as well ala Nevada or if he'd actually write the order himself.

  • 44. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    '…. if Feldman will recuse himself, as well, a la Nevada …."

    DrBri, since Feldman was so smugly dysfunctional in the first place, to expand his case from one of a simple challenge on the ban on recognition of out-of-state marriages, to also include the ban on in-state performance, so he could thus be particularly smarmy in upholding the whole deal, I want him to be force-fed to personally issue the injunction striking down both bans, as per the 5th Circuit Court's blistering ruling.

    No, actually, being a perfect twit, he'll undoubtedly recuse himself.

  • 45. RobW303  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Don't forget that Judge Granade did the same thing in Alabama, but in our favor: struck the entirety of the bans although the first case dealt only with marriage recognition. The only significant difference is that she was simultaneously deciding a marriage performance case, ruled on shortly afterward, but the two were not combined until appeal. That might have put the first case in jeopardy (I opine) had not the 11th circuit combined the cases and frozen the appeals.

  • 46. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I maintain that Feldman likely asked the plaintiffs in include the "celebration" factor since the "recognition" claim is a lot tougher to use Baker to hide behind (after all, there were no other states issuing licenses in the 1970s for Minnesota to recognize!).

  • 47. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    He personally misled me when he expanded the case to include both aspects. And I dislike being misled.

    So, the case was expanded to include "celebration" so he could subsequently hide behind "Baker" to uphold that particular ban.

    But "Baker" is not applicable to the recognition issue of legally-performed out-of-state same-sex marriages. Thus, as far as I'm concerned, he never ruled on the original plaintiffs' suit,– only on the add-on (which he got wrong). Louisiana's refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages was never addressed.

  • 48. Dr. Z  |  February 11, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Or pick that moment to finally retire. Seems to me I read he's 80 years old or thereabouts?

  • 49. Zack12  |  February 11, 2015 at 12:34 am

    I think he will recuse himself just to throw one last bit of venom in our direction.

  • 50. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 11, 2015 at 3:56 am

    I'm SO annoyed that Kansas is even still an issue. Why hasn't THAT been cleared up yet, hmmm?

  • 51. DACiowan  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:55 am

    My suspicion is that Crabtree doesn't really want to strike down the ban, and is content to slow-walk this until SCOTUS takes it off his hands. The November ruling was to comply with the 10th Circuit but now he's trying to avoid taking a firmer stance by ordering the state to recognize.

    If he was as adament about equality as Hinkle and Granade are, it wouldn't be three months and counting for him to write the equivalent of Hinkle's clarification.

  • 52. RQO  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Kansas is still bleeding, and now it's OUR blood. You may have seen that Governor Brownback just REPEALED, by executive order, the anti-discrimination for gay state employees directive issued by former Gov. Kathleen Sibelius last decade. This isn't even a "dog-whistle" to the right wing, it's: "OK, we're gonna lose on marriage, so let's start a WITCH HUNT right now and purge the state of any of those commie pinko homos while we still have a chance".
    My spouse interviewed for a job in Kansas last month. I told him I thought working for a KS company a bad idea, and NO WAY would I ever move there. This Dorothy does NOT want to go back to Kansas. Apparently Aunt Em died and the place is inhabited by several million Elvira Gulchs.

  • 53. scream4ever  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Don't forget Louisiana!!!

    My impression is that the Supreme Court wants as many states as possible to be onboard when they hand down their ruling. I'm not sure they will go so far as to lift the stays in states where they were previously imposed, but they have surprised me many times over the last 4 months.

  • 54. sfbob  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    There are fewer states left with marriage equality bans now than there were states with active anti-miscegenation laws on their books in 1967 when Loving vs Virginia was decided. In addition, in 1967 nearly 90% of those polled disapproved of interracial marriages and in fact it would not be until over 20 years later that less than 50% disapproved. By way of contrast, close to 60% of Americans have no problem with marriage equality. If the Court is actually waiting for some sort of tipping point I'd say we'd already passed that.

  • 55. scream4ever  |  February 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    We're also at fewer states without marriage equality the those which still criminalized sodomy when Lawrence was handed down.

  • 56. Christian0811  |  February 11, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Well the bans are still there, they just haven't been properly repealed but they can't been enforced (well, not without a showdown with the Obama administration which would be a futile effort anyway). I imagine it'll take another 50 or so years until all the homophobic laws are actually and literally gone. I mean for gods sake, 13 states still have their sodomy laws 3 of which were among the 6 or so to target only homosexuals. Montana repealed it's law in 2013 if I recall correctly.

    My money is on Louisiana being the last one to catchup, now taking bets haha

  • 57. JayJonson  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:41 am

    What makes you think Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Carolina will remove the laws against same-sex marriage and sodomy before Louisiana? I suspect these states will do nothing that could possibly be construed as helping gay people until and unless they are forced to do so.

  • 58. Zack12  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:50 am

    I agree, after all Alabama didn't take laws off the books banning interracial marriage until 2000.

  • 59. Christian0811  |  February 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Like I said, I don't expect that to happen for another 50+ years. Like Zack12 says below, Alabama did EVENTUALLY move into the 20th century in regards to the official government policy on race relations in repealing it's Anti-Miscegenation Amendment and associated statutes.

  • 60. RQO  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Blocking formal repeal of aweful, outdated, offensive, and unenforceable laws is a hallmark of right wing nut-job Republican state legislators. Last year in Colrado, they managed to block removal of our "adultery is a felony" statute dating from territorial days. Just glad we don't have a law proclaiming the world is flat.

  • 61. Christian0811  |  February 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Definitely a fair point. But even in California and Connecticut, there were handfuls of Republicans that signed off on statutory language clean up.

    Albeit, Colorado is an interesting case Bc of the instance you reference and the fact that they couldn't even pass a repeal of Amendment 2 which is a particularly venomous law. Colorado's situation is dismaying, granted.

  • 62. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    As Raga notes above, Louisiana's ruling was in favor of the bans, so the 5th circuit would have to first vacate and remand the decision back to the district judge to then start ME. (See Nevada and the 9th circuit ruling) Texas & Mississippi have stays on the decisions striking down their bans, so they have a potentially faster route to having those stays lifted to start ME or have the 5th circuit rule in favor of ME without further stays.

  • 63. ReadLearn  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I believe all three cases MS, LA, & TX have been combined, though, right?

  • 64. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    They were heard at the same time, but MS and TX already have pro-ME rulings and Louisiana has a pro-ban ruling. The Circuit will have to address both factors in their ruling. (Again, see the 9th's decision for both Idaho & Nevada…. Both cases were heard on the same day, along with Hawaii. The 9th upheld the Idaho ruling striking the ban and directed the judge in Nevada to issue the injunction on the Nevada ban. He recused himself and another federal district judge issued the injunction.)

  • 65. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    With regard to LA, see my response to DACiowan above.

    Regarding SCOTUS's willingness to lift a stay, IMO, that is the true test of where the Court is headed. The reason for the denial of stays in FL and AL and all other post-October denials might have just been a respectful deference to the Circuit Courts of Appeal, in the absence of any evidence that they demonstrably abused their discretion in denying the stays. If they go above and beyond and lift stays imposed by a Circuit Court of Appeal, that's the ultimate, unambiguous signal that the Court really is considering the merits in deciding stays. Plus, it would be totally unfair that Alabama and Florida enjoy marriage while states in the Eighth and Fifth Circuits with the exact same scenario don't. I really would like to see the Plaintiffs ask the Court to lift stays if the Eighth/Fifth doesn't. SCOTUS has lifted stays before (just recently in the Texas abortion case).

  • 66. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Indeed, how unfair would that be for Texas, which has had its ban struck down for a year this month but has been stayed all this time?!

  • 67. ReadLearn  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    The district judge who made the original decision stayed his own ruling in TX.

  • 68. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Yes, I remember. I was simply commenting on Raga's point about how it would be unfair for Alabama and Florida to enjoy ME currently while states with similar rulings striking down the bans (including Texas, which has been stayed the longest out of the remaining crop outside the 6th) continue to wait for further legal proceedings.

  • 69. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    And refused to lift it when asked to do so post-October. I think the time is ripe to either ask him to reconsider, or ask the Fifth Circuit directly (such a motion would go to the same panel that heard the appeal).

  • 70. Steve27516  |  February 10, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Raga –
    Can you offer any speculation regarding the chances of picking up Puerto Rico before June?

  • 71. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I imagine PR would be difficult. I remember Raga noting that the judge based the ruling on Baker still being precedent, so the First Circuit could remand back to him stating that there have been enough doctrinal developments to show that Baker no longer controls. (Baker shouldn't have controlled regardless, as the case was about recognition!) The judge would have to focus on the merits (which he did touch on in his initial ruling), and he would still most assuredly rule against ME.

    A hearing date hasn't been set yet, so it's unclear if they will even listen to arguments before SCOTUS does, and only through those arguments could we see if the 1st might want to completely reverse the district ruling.

  • 72. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    '…. as the case was about recognition!"

    DrBri, Ada Conde Vidal's original pro se case was strictly one of recognition of their out-of-state Massachusetts marriage. Later, other plaintiffs and several rights groups joined her suit so that it then covered in-state performance, as well. But your point is correct in that "Baker" had nothing to do with out-of-state recognition of a pre-existing marriage. Thus, a ruling citing "Baker" is meaningless in that it doesn't address that angle of the issue at all.

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

    Not to mention the fact that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth/territory, as opposed to a full state, which Minnesota of course was during the time Baker was decided. Even more incongruences that show how Baker (even if still active) cannot control in this case.

  • 74. VIRick  |  February 11, 2015 at 10:15 am

    For all federal court purposes, including appeals, count Puerto Rico as a state.

  • 75. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    I concur with what others have filled in here. PR might have to wait until after SCOTUS rules.

  • 76. Zack12  |  February 11, 2015 at 12:36 am

    I think it will take until SCOTUS rules in June.
    As others have pointed out, there hasn't even been a date set to hear this case and even if there was, highly unlikely they'd be able to rule in time.

  • 77. Zack12  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    If we want stays lifted in the 8th, it will have to be through SCOTUS.

  • 78. DrBriCA  |  February 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    This is excellent! And very well-written. I would've even added in the part in Thomas's dissent where he all but admits that the Court is going to rule in favor of marriage equality.

    I especially love that they respectfully ask for an answer within a week, as opposed to how the 8th took a month to weigh in on Missouri's initial request to lift the stay or expedite appeal.

  • 79. VIRick  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    '…. added in the part in Thomas's dissent where he all but admits that the Court is going to rule in favor of marriage equality."

    Absolutely. I love these "dire prediction" dissents,– it sounds so Scalia,– but it's added proof on the point of "likelihood of success."

  • 80. DeadHead  |  February 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Kansas governor rescinds protections for gay state workers… “Brownback said he was rescinding a 2007 order signed by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius that established a "protected class of rights" for state employees specifically for sexual orientation and gender identity.”

  • 81. scream4ever  |  February 10, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    On a brighter note:

    I'm shocked this passed with such strong numbers (the chamber is 26/4 Republican). I expect it will also be approved in the House and that Governor Mead will sign it (he's voiced support for it in the past).

  • 82. Raga  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    They also have a state-RFRA that's going through the legislature. If both these bills pass into law, it would be interesting to see how courts balance the two.

  • 83. RnL2008  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I personally DON'T believe SCOTUS is going to uphold these RFRA laws and if States believe they will, then they truly need to read the Hobby Lobby ruling thoroughly….it states that one can't use their religious beliefs to discriminate!!!

  • 84. Christian0811  |  February 11, 2015 at 2:02 am

    My faith is far and away less than what you might call 'concrete' in SCOTUS on matters other than ME. Between Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, this court has displayed miserable understanding of what it means to have human decency. Plus the cowardly approach to ME hasn't been admirable either.

    Anyways, if an RFRA passed in Wyoming, I'd prefer they sue in state court in state constitutional grounds. I think that'd be safer.

  • 85. scream4ever  |  February 10, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    True, but it passed the House without a veto-proof majority (while the Senate passed the anti-discrimination bill with one). Will be interesting to see how many votes we get in the House. In 2013 they failed to pass domestic partnerships by a 24-35 vote while the Senate failed to pass the anti-discrimination bill by a 13-15 vote.

  • 86. Steve84  |  February 11, 2015 at 3:55 am

    So-called "religious freedom" trumps basically everything. At least if it's about Christians.

  • 87. aiislander  |  February 11, 2015 at 9:18 am

    It appears that way based upon gut responses by the public when it comes to businesses refusing services to gay weddings. But, and it's a big but, one cannot escape well established stare decicis regarding businesses being soundly rejected the attempted use of religious objection in many cases involving, for example, seating blacks at the same lunch-counters as whites. Carving out an exception for businesses open to the public to refuse service to gays poses exceptional hazards to all public accommodations anti-discrimination law, and I'm inclined to believe it cannot pass SCOTUS review.

    Further, look to Arizona quickly walking back their RFRA by Governor veto (with even many legislators who had voted in favor requesting the Governor to veto) after they realized the potential impact of what they had done. Didn't hurt that the business community threatened to avoid investment in Arizona and the NFL threatened to move this year's Superbowl out of the state!

  • 88. alleninsb  |  February 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Slightly unrelated question:

    How many SCOTUS votes does it take to create or extend a stay? I thought that it was four but a lawyer friend of mine said that it's four to grant cert but five for a stay.

  • 89. Swifty819  |  February 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I think your lawyer friend is correct. I'm not a lawyer myself, but I've always heard 4 is only for certs. Any other motions like stays requires 5.

  • 90. aiislander  |  February 10, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Slightly tricky question. Your lawyer friend is basically correct, assuming that the request to stay is in front of the entire court. However, requests for stays are typically presented to the Justice in charge of the originating district. (Thus the request for Alabama's stay went to Justice Thomas). Thomas could have alone granted the stay on his own, but if he did so, the lawyers for ME would have immediately requested review by the full court, which Thomas knew would deny the stay anyway, so Thomas did not issue a stay individually, but rather referred it himself to the full court.

    And yes, it's just four to grant cert.

  • 91. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Off topic:

    According to NBC News, a New Jersey state judge has ruled that 'gay conversion' therapy groups who claim homosexuality is a disease in their marketing are violating New Jersey's consumer protection laws.

    It might be considered somewhat moot, since 'gay conversion' has been outlawed in the state, but the ban only extends to parents. Also, there is no ban in New York state and Pennsylvania (home of two of the biggest media markets in the US – NYC and Philly) who are the main media markets in Northern NJ and Southern NJ, respectively.
    (… )

    This could set up an interesting appeal, such as 'out of state' 'vendors' of the therapy claiming that New Jersey is attempting to violate the vendor's freedom of speech. I'm sure some bigots will back an appeal.

  • 92. JayJonson  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:51 am

    "but the ban only extends to parents." No, the ban in both New Jersey and California applies only to the treatment of minors by licensed therapists. So even if a minor sought treatment without his or her parents' knowledge, it would be unethical (and subject to professional sanctions) for the therapist to treat the minor.

    Parents, assuming they are adults, can be "treated" by these charlatans if they want to; but now in New Jersey, they cannot be lured into treatment by describing homosexuality as a disease.

  • 93. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:21 am

    This article takes another slant. All states have consumer protection laws. The logic in this ruling could spread to other states.

    Unconscionable Practice
    This court ruling could mean the end of gay conversion therapy. [Slate]

  • 94. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Off topic:

    The take by the Atlanta Journal Constitution‎:

  • 95. flyerguy77  |  February 11, 2015 at 1:12 am

    omg!!!!!! I'm listening to an interview with our lovely Chief Moore, the bigot, my opinion. He is not making sense whatsoever. He does not understand federal court laws. or hes just playing bullshit..

  • 96. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 11, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Roy Moore Says Even The US Supreme Court Can't Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal

    What an arrogant sack of shit.

  • 97. cpnlsn88  |  February 11, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Two things flow from this.

    First, it is clear there is no point arguing with Moore or adducing cases like they will convince him. He will issue the same instructions even with a SCOTUS ruling. The only way to deal with Moore is to remove him from office.

    Second, he at least has the merit of a novel legal (or possibly extralegal) argument against marriage equality. No-one previously at his level of seniority (an important caveat, admittedly) has previously argued this point. In itself it's an Old Song from the Deep South that has rung out over slavery, segregation. Still, he's not basing his argument on Baker and procreation. The Supreme Court has ruled against him already in Loving and Windsor – reference in Windsor to states' power over marriage 'subject to constitutional guarantees' (Politically he seems to based within Scalia's dissents on Lawrence and Windsor).

  • 98. RnL2008  |  February 11, 2015 at 9:17 am

    He's delusional and very much wrong……..SCOTUS is the Supreme law of this Country and if Moore DOESN'T like their rulings….he is free to move to someplace that has views similar to himself……hell, I'll even throw in a dollar or two to help him out!!!

  • 99. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 11, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Unfortunately, I think he already lives in such a place…

  • 100. Christian0811  |  February 11, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Well he should move where he's out of their jurisdiction…someplace deeply conservative, with a broad rich-poor divide, and is extremely homophobic. Uganda would be suiting don't you think?

  • 101. galen697  |  February 11, 2015 at 5:19 am

    If "Leaps of Logic" was an Olympic event, Moore would win a gold medal.

  • 102. DACiowan  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Per Pat's spreadsheet, if Mobile County were to behave today we'd be past 50% of Alabamians. I expect it will take Judge Granade to make Mobile behave but I have a flicker of hope the probate judge will give up his schoolhouse door stand.

  • 103. JayJonson  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:54 am

    The Mobile judge will behave when Judge Granade orders him too and assesses hefty court costs and attorney fees and threatens a contempt citation if he refuses to follow her order.

  • 104. netoschultz  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:18 am


    JUST IN: Jackson County now issuing marriage licenses to ALL couples as of today.

  • 105. Pat_V  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Cool! OK, for the time being, I added Calhoun county and Jackson county to the list. But as Grod is the expert of county-by-county tracking, I'll let the table be corrected if necessary.
    Getting closer to 50% of the population!

  • 106. netoschultz  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Calhoun County began issuing marriage licenses today

  • 107. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Obama on Alabama marriage equality: Federal law wins out []

  • 108. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Too cute for words.

    George Takei emails Alabama family who held signs supporting gay marriage []

  • 109. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Changing hearts and minds by telling stories.

    In Alabama, a Quiet Fight to Marry [New York Times]

  • 110. MichaelGrabow  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Great read.

  • 111. JayJonson  |  February 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I expected more from Tuscaloosa. It is the home of the University of Alabama. Perhaps it is no accident that the University of Alabama is better known for its football teams than for its academics.

  • 112. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Recent polling on ME support, by state.

    Alabama is one of the two states most opposed to same-sex marriage [Washington Post]

  • 113. Pat_V  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Interesting map. Everything is pretty expected (blue states are more pro-marriage equality and vice versa). But what looks a little surprising is that states like Idaho, North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas actually have a majority supporting same-sex marriage (between 50 and 55%), while North Carolina is only about 40-45% supportive. I would have expected North Carolina to be more progressive than those 4 states – but maybe it doesn't need to match presidential voting patterns.

  • 114. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Draws attention to the urban/rural mix. You can have strong support in densely populated urban areas, and the reverse elsewhere. Shows up in California and, more recently, Alabama, when we have occasion to look at the distribution of support within a state. That's why I find your table extremely useful (thank you), but also look at the map to see how the support lays out geographically.

  • 115. guitaristbl  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I have a hard time believing that Montana and North Carolina are more opposed to marriage equality than Idaho and Nebraska to be honest.I also don't believe that Oklahoma is in the 45-50 category As for Alabama and Mississipi, hardly surprising.

  • 116. hopalongcassidy  |  February 11, 2015 at 8:04 am

    None of these polls are worth a thimbleful of spit. Best just ignore 'em.

  • 117. aiislander  |  February 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I wouldn't go that far, hopalong, while polls should never be relied upon as rock solid, actually polling accuracy on this subject has improved dramatically over the past several years. Long ago, polls on gay issues seemed to suffer from the "Bradley Effect". That no longer appears to be the case.

    For example, in 2012, the polling on ME referenda in the states of Washington, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland, actual voting results came in right on, or even a little better than, pre-vote polls.

  • 118. aiislander  |  February 11, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I don't intend to assert that the Bradley Effect has gone away, but pollsters at least seem to have learned how to adjust for it with a remarkable degree of accuracy..

  • 119. Sagesse  |  February 11, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I'm curious. Mobile says they 'requested clarification' from the Alabama Supreme Court. To my knowledge, their 'request' has not been published or docketed anywhere, and there's no indication that the Alabama Supreme Court (as distinct from their fearless leader) has replied.

    Has anyone heard anything about what's happened to this request? 'Hey guys. Does Moore speak for you, or has he gone completely off the reservation?' And how does a state supreme court deal with a request that is not made through the normal court process?

  • 120. RnL2008  |  February 11, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Mobile Probate Judge Don Davis is trying to circumvent the ruling from the Federal Judge. The Alabama Supreme Court has NO jurisdiction over the ruling from the Federal Judge, therefore the ONLY clarity Probate Judge Davis needs to hear from is the Federal Judge and he DOESN'T like or agree with the ruling!!!

  • 121. flyerguy77  |  February 11, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    My belief that if Judge Grande grants the emergency preliminary injunction, hopefully tomorrow afternoon/evening more counties/probate judges get the hint that she will do same thing if they don't start issuing marriage licenses.. I thought something this morning while Chief Moore is screaming and issuing fake orders he has not submitted anything to the federal judge to help his probate judges.. hmm because Judge Grande will reject his briefs/ no standing..

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