Court orders Alabama counties to issue same-sex marriage licenses
Court orders Alabama counties to issue same-sex marriage licenses

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official website] on Wednesday issued an order [ruling, PDF] that all Alabama counties must abide by a Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage. The order says that state probate judges may not discriminate against same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex marriage is constitutional. The order affects all counties that are issuing marriage licenses, but does not affect those that have stopped issuing all marriage licenses in wake of the ruling. The judge had already ruled [NYT report] that local probate judges could not refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this year, but Judge Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court [official website] issued his own order that Judge Granade’s order did not apply to Alabama’s probate judges and directed them not to follow her order.

Introductions of religious exemption bills and refusals to issue licenses have been occurring around the country. In June the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a law [JURIST report] that would allow some court officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on their religious beliefs, overriding a veto [JURIST report] by Governor Pat McCroy. In May Louisiana legislatures rejected a religious objections bill [JURIST report] that was pushed by Governor Bobby Jindal. A House legal committee voted 10-2 [AP report] to kill the bill, ending weeks of serious debate. However, in an effort to solicit Christian conservatives for his likely presidential bid in 2016, Jindal immediately responded by issuing an executive order aimed at doing essentially the same thing as the bill, just on a smaller scale. The proposed bill would prohibit the state from taking punitive action against individuals, businesses and nonprofits because of actions they take “in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction” about marriage.