Federal judge orders Alabama probate court to issue same-sex marriage licenses
Federal judge orders Alabama probate court to issue same-sex marriage licenses

[JURIST] US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official website] Judge Callie Granade on Thursday ordered Probate Court of Mobile County [official website] Judge Don Davis to issue same-sex marriage licenses. In her ruling in Strawser v. Strange [text], Granade stated, “[t]his injunction binds Judge Don Davis and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit or fail to recognize same sex marriages.” Although same-sex marriage officially became legal in the state as a result of Granade’s January decision in Searcy v. Strange [text, PDF], many of Alabama’s probate judges followed the directive of Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama [official websites], who urged the counties to maintain one man to one woman marriages. Moore told CNN [report] that an eventual US Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage would be similar to the Dred Scott decision [LOC backgrounder] and that he would refuse to honor it. Further, Moore urged that Garande’s ruling is a “federal intrusion into state sovereignty.” Davis’ attorney Harry Satterwhite stated that the judge will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as ordered.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] continues to be one of the most polarizing legal topics in the US today. On Monday Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court refused to extend a two-week stay [JURIST report] on the federal judge’s ruling that held same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in the state. On January 23 the Southern District of Alabama struck down [JURIST report] the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act [text], ruling them unconstitutional. Last month the Supreme Court agreed to rule [JURIST report] on same-sex marriage, granting certiorari [order list, PDF] in four cases.