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Alabama marriage updates 7/8

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Alabama state sealThere continues to be important updates in the fight to bring marriage equality to Alabama. Here’s some news:

– In the state supreme court case that upheld the marriage ban and barred probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the parties have started to file replies to the court’s order to discuss what should happen now that Obergefell is decided. The Alabama Policy Institute, the nonprofit group that filed the initial petition, filed a response criticizing the Obergefell decision and the Supreme Court Justices. The filing didn’t explicitly ask the state supreme court to ignore the decision but that seemed to be the implication. They did note that at least, religious liberty should be protected.

– Also in the state supreme court, the Mobile County and Chilton County probate judges filed responses essentially stating that Obergefell is controlling now.

– In the Strawser federal class-action challenge to the state’s marriage ban, the judge had suggested she was ready to make the preliminary injunction permanent, and she asked for responses discussing whether that should happen. The Attorney General of Alabama responded by noting that it’s not clear which preliminary injunction is under discussion: the one against the AG or the one against the defendant class of probate judges. He suggested that to the extent he would face an injunction, he’s already being subjected to one in another marriage case, and is complying.

– In another response Baldwin County‘s probate judge again (for the third or fourth time at this point) suggests that the case against him individually and as a class representative should be dismissed for all the reasons he put forward in his earlier motions to dismiss and reconsider. He also argues that a permanent injunction wouldn’t be appropriate because probate judges can refuse to issue licenses to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

– In a response filed by the Alabama Probate Judges, it’s argued that the case is moot because of Obergefell and the probate judges’ compliance with that decision.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. 1grod  |  July 8, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Impact on 13 counties out of marriage license issuing business.

  • 2. 1grod  |  July 8, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Scottie: you state above that the parties have started to file replies to the court’s order to discuss what should happen now that Obergefell is decided. I understood replies were to be received by July 6 5:00 pm. G

  • 3. StraightDave  |  July 8, 2015 at 9:20 am

    "moot because of Obergefell and the probate judges’ compliance with that decision"

    Really? What compliance?
    So depriving *everyone* of their marriage rights = compliance?

    I think we're in for a long ride in AL.

  • 4. Zack12  |  July 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

    We didn't really think a state that polled as showing interracial marriage bans should still be in place in 2000 would give up that easily on this would you?

  • 5. tornado163  |  July 8, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Strictly speaking, a probate judge refusing to issue all marriage licenses is in compliance with the decision. Alabama law says that probate judges MAY issue marriage license – meaning that probate judges have discretion whether or not they are in the marriage license business. (in other states where the law says officials MUST issue licenses, they don't have that discretion).

    Judge Granade's decision says that IF a probate judge issues any marriage licenses at all, then they can't discriminate based on sexual orientation. Her decision doesn't say anything about forcing probate judges to issue marriage licenses in general.

    Whether or not Alabama's law giving probate judges discretion violates a fundamental right to marriage is for a completely different lawsuit.

  • 6. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 8, 2015 at 11:16 am

    And what Alabama law allows for non-marriage of couplces? I guess the laws in Alabama on common law marriage even are null and void, since they concern a very specific type of marriage.

  • 7. A_Jayne  |  July 8, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Strictly speaking, the county electorate might just decide they'd rather pay a probate judge who will perform all duties assigned (even non-technically) to the office in the future. This decision (refusal to issue any marriage licenses) is designed to enrage the hetero community against the gay community, but I think the odds are good it will backfire…

  • 8. RnL2008  |  July 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    That same tactic was tried with regards to Prop 8 between the Black community and the Gay/Lesbian community…… failed when both the NAACP and Hispanic organizations realized that if rights can be eliminated for Gays and Lesbians with regard to marriage, then maybe rights could be removed against the Black and Hispanic community as well…….seems once those little lights went on, it was a down hill fall for Prop 8!!!

  • 9. VIRick  |  July 8, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    " This decision (refusal to issue any marriage licenses) is designed to enrage the hetero community against the gay community, but … it will backfire …."

    The sudden inconvenience now experienced by the hetero community as a result of no marriage licenses being issued whatsoever, is guaranteed to backfire:

    1. The county electorate could easily replace the recalcitrant probate judge during the next election cycle with someone who would happily issue marriage licenses to everyone.

    2. Bigger picture, and longer-term, this recalcitrance calls into question the specific need to have a separate county jurisdiction covering a very non-descript swath of ruritania with a very small population. Depending upon state law, it shouldn't be overly difficult to merge several of these "nowhere" counties in with a neighboring county or two, thus doing away with any number of these probate judges. Many southern states, from Kentucky to Texas, have way too many counties with a shrinking population base, counties which are really no longer sustainable as separate units of government. Make them humble by abolishing their county (and their job along with it). Since they're already making all applicants travel to the next county for a marriage license, they're demonstrating to the entire population that their county and the assorted government positions within it are no longer needed.

  • 10. mjnichol  |  July 8, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Gotta love how the API quotes a 1858 case as their sole basis for a state ignoring a Supreme Court decision.

  • 11. 1grod  |  July 8, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Nichol: while readers might be amused by API reference to 1858, their reference to the views expressed by the dissenters in Obergefell, including those stated by the chief justice,illustrates the importance of these judges to keep their powder dry. Mobile Co probate judge's submission draws on the assertions of the Alabama Supreme Court in its mandamus decision in March 2015. 'Decisions of federal courts, other than the United States Supreme Court, though persuasive, are not binding authority on this Court. p 75 …… In passing on federal constitutional questions, the state courts and the lower federal courts have the same responsibility and occupy the same position; there is a parallelism but not paramountcy for both sets of courts are governed by the same reviewing authority of the Supreme Court. “ Relying upon this court’s statement that it follows the rulings of the United State Supreme Court……”

    Chilton Co's brief may also equally useful to the AL Supreme Court. “Because Obergefell was an appeal from the courts of the United States, it is governed by Rule 45(3) of the Supreme Court Rules, which provides that no formal mandate is necessary. The decision was thus effective when issued."

  • 12. 1grod  |  July 9, 2015 at 3:14 am

    IAN: AL's Attorney General L. Strange again asserts orally and in writing Obergefell is , conclusively the law of the land. Waist no more money resisting it!
    He acknowledged this July 7ine the Aaron-Bush case in the US Middle District AL Court Their lawyer believes a permanent injunction would stop the backsliding of officials in Alabama.

  • 13. 1grod  |  July 10, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    uphold the Constitution of the USA.. AL paid probate judges [that includes you – Patrick Davenpost of Houston Co] took an oath to uphold. 'May' or 'may not' is permissive, ie is a discretion, and permissive appear to be in conflict with the duty to uphold. Duties trump discretion. A good showing on July 13, Monday @ 12:30 pm at the Dothan Court House needs to get this message out.

  • 14. 1grod  |  July 9, 2015 at 3:35 am

    Fair summary of 3 ME cases before District Courts in Alabama

  • 15. RemC  |  July 9, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Lyle Denniston's report on the Liberty Council advising the AL Supreme Court on how to defy The Supreme Court.

    There are three things wrong with that sentence: Liberty Council advising; advising the AL Supreme Court; how to defy the Supreme Court.

    UNBELIEVABLE. What parallel universe do these people occupy?

    7:17 am Chicago time and I've already opened up the forehead wound. Bloodied my dining room table too.

  • 16. RnL2008  |  July 9, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Frankly, I totally DON'T get it either……, these ummm, lawyers DON'T seem to understand that some things CAN'T be defied, like a ruling from SCOTUS…….trust me when I say that this WOULDN'T have taken place after the Loving ruling where folks claimed some religious right to deny an interracial couple a marriage license………..and Liberty Counsel/Alliance Defense idiots SHOULD know that as lawyers's their job is to advice their clients to follow the law, since when is a State Supreme Court a "CLIENT" of either of these law firms?

  • 17. RemC  |  July 9, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Rose, while on the train this morning, I found an article—which I lost when I lost connection and haven't been able to find again—about a radio interview with the attorney involved in an interracial marriage case involving a blind couple, Thomas and Carol Ann Person. They were turned away twice by magistrates, one who literally read the Bible to them as to why they couldn't be married. I devoutly wish that those legislators and news pundits and political officials, who pontificate on the grievous wrong righted by Loving v Virginia, but in the same breath claim that the value is different for us because we're not man-woman couples, will eventually be revealed for the sanctimonious hypocrites that they are.

  • 18. RnL2008  |  July 9, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Ya know roughly 7 years ago, just before my wife and I got married, I discovered this blog site called Topix and I felt the need to somehow do my part in advocating for our right to marry and that regardless of how many might actually marry, the decision should be the two individuals not based on some gender restriction…….anyways, I posted about us getting married and the belief that no way was Prop 8 going to pass……the night it did, I posted this comment:
    For those who voted Yes on Prop 8,
    You may have won this round, but the war is for from over
    There have ben over 18,000 couples married and one of the couples from the 2004 lawsuit are already filing their new lawsuit
    Remember, we are people to and just because you do not like something does not mean you can ELIMINATE our FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
    Prop 8 was a lot closer than Prop 22 and before you know it Gays and Lesbians will be getting MARRIED LEGALLY again in California
    Remember that MA and CT still have legalized Marriages between Same-Sex Couples
    Blessed Be

    And my wife posted this:
    As I go about my daily business today, I can't help but think to myself…

    There are three women to every man, and yet heterosexual women have voted against their sisters. They don't want all women to be all that they can and want to be; they want women to be all they think they should be. Why did I vote that the Hispanic should be able to have rights in America when they have voted as a majority against me? Why do I stand up for the rights of all others and when it comes to someone standing up for me and my rights, everybody seems to be taking a siesta? I know that 7 out of 10 individuals I meet today have voted against my right to be married. How can they hold their heads up knowing that they have voted to strip the rights of a minority? And how am I to wish them a great day when I the knots in my stomach and throat are choking me to tears; ot just for the fear of my own marriage but for all my sisters asnd brothers who have been so horribly done wrong? Don't tell me "One Nation of the People, by the People and for the People" when the nation as a whole has spoken so loudly against some of their People!!!!

    It is really sad and although my heart is torn open and full of fear for what might happen to mine and thousands of others marriage licenses, I will NOT stop fighting for my rights. I SIMPLY HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF JUST WHO IS REALLY ONE THE SIDE OF EQUALITY!!!!


    We were both so angry and I knew we would always win this fight, but for those Gay and Lesbian couples who are still being DENIED their FUNDAMENTAL right to marry TODAY, They and those legal organizations NEED to continue to file the appropriate lawsuits and PUSH back against these folks who think they are more important than they really are…..they are JUST pawns being USED by the ANTI-GAY folks who simply DON'T give a damn about them.

    The anger my wife and I felt about being told our marriage license and our marriage was nothing more that TP, drove us to continue to fight in whatever way we could…….we have won a massive battle, but unfortunately, this war continues and will continue UNTIL folks understand that this Country is ONLY a Country if we stand together UNITED….otherwise as long as we are divided, well……let's just leave that for another day!!!

  • 19. jm64tx  |  July 9, 2015 at 8:00 am

    "man, these ummm, lawyers DON'T seem to understand that some things CAN'T be defied, like a ruling from SCOTUS"

    You do realize that your statement is not correct right?

    You do realize that Abraham Lincoln defied the US Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Cases which led to the abolishment of slavery?

    "At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal." – Abraham Lincoln….

  • 20. RnL2008  |  July 9, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    So, has there been a MORE recent defilement of a SCOTUS ruling besides this one? Or did ya just need to add strife to justify your presence here?

  • 21. OrvilleKlutz  |  July 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

    These so called Alabama legislators need to be sentenced to an educational institute to learn about civil, equal rights which they obviously have no idea apparently because they have been brainwashed by their religions.

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