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Religious Tolerance logo

Recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality

Part 17: Alabama:
A Washington Post video.
Lawsuit against a Mobile County probate judge.
National Organization for Marriage makes appeal.

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In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. Also, "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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LGBT symbol 2015-FEB-10: A video by Washington Post:

This video is titled: "Same-sex couples turned away in Alabama."

1

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Sponsored link.

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2015-FEB-09: Conflict in Mobile County:

Don Davis is the probate judge for Mobile County. This was one of the counties where the judge decided on FEB-09 to stop issuing marriage licenses to anyone. The service windows in the marriage license department remained closed on Monday.

Lawyers for a lesbian couple asked the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Alabama to hold the Mobile County probate judge, Don Davis, in contempt because he had allegedly:

"not given a reason why the marriage license division is closed on this particular day, and he has not stated as to when the office will reopen." 2

They asked that Judge Callie V. Granade to:

"... order law enforcement to open the marriage license division [in Mobile, AL and] impose sanctions" against Probate Judge Davis.

She is the District Judge who had issued the two rulings in late January that legalizing same-sex marriage in Alabama. She had temporarily stayed her order in favor of same-sex marriage for two weeks. The stay automatically terminated on the morning of FEB-09. She, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court all refused to extend the stay past FEB-09. Her ruling has been appealed to the 11th Circuit. Thus, marriage equality became law in Alabama at least until the 11th Circuit releases its ruling.

Judge Granade refused their request, saying:

"Nothing in plaintiffs’ motion would compel this court to order law enforcement to open the marriage license division of Mobile County Probate Court or impose sanctions. ... [the plaintiffs] have offered no authority by which this court can hold Davis in contempt or order any of the relief sought." 3

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2015-FEB-10: Brian Brown issued a message about same-sex marriages in Alabama:

Brian Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage. It is the leading national organization dedicated to preventing same-sex couples from being permitted to marry anywhere in the U.S. Lack of access to marriage prevents these couples and their children from receiving the hundreds of state marriage protections and benefits, as well as 1,138 federal benefits that are automatically enjoyed by all opposite-sex married couples and their children.

On the afternoon of 2015-FEB-10, he issued a message to the subscribers on their email list. It was titled "Thank Chief Justice Moore!:" 4

  • He criticized federal District Judge Callie V.S. "Ginny" Granade, who he did not name, as being a "single federal judge" who ruled that Alabama's bans on SSM were unconstitutional. Later he referred to "the absurd demands of this single judge" who ruled in favor of marriage equality. He did not mention that over 40 other federal judges, many state judges, and a few three-judge panels from U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal had done exactly the same thing in other states since late-2013.

  • He said that she ruled that the state Constitutional amendment "somehow violates the Constitution of the United States." It would have been helpful to his readers if he had mentioned that her ruling was not a frivolous or simple personal opinion. After carefully analyzing the SSM bans contained in the state Constitutional amendment and marriage statute, she found that they specifically violate the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. These clauses are generally acknowledged by courts as requiring states to give same-sex and opposite-sex engaged couples equal access to marriage.

  • He mentioned that the state constitutional amendment to ban SSMs was passed by 80% of the voters. He did not mention that it doesn't matter by what percentage voters passed any amendment. If it violates the federal constitution, then it is unconstitutional, void, and unenforceable. It is merely one more example of the "tyranny of the majority" in which the majority of voters strip fundamental human rights from an unpopular minority. Preventing this form of tyranny was a major concern of the founding fathers of the United States.

  • He criticized District Judge Granade because she only stayed her decision for 14 days. This was long enough for the Attorney General to appeal the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Brown would have preferred her to initiate a 5 or 6 month stay as requested by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, This would have prevented same-sex couples from marrying while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar case involving SSMs in four contiguous states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee later in 2015. He ignored the fact that the 11th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court also upheld District Judge Granade's 14-day stay and refused to extend it.

  • He refers to Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and dozens of probate judges as "heroes willing to stand up and defend marriage." But they are not defending marriage. In reality, they are prohibiting couples who want to marry from doing so in their county. They are doing a poor job at exclusion, because same-sex couples are simply bypassing their local courthouse, traveling to another county, and obtaining their license there.

  • He said that Chief Justice Moore "encouraged clerks" to refuse licenses to same-sex couples. In reality, Moore, as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, ordered probate judges to perform that function even though it violated the oaths of office in which both Chief Justice Moore and the probate judges promised to uphold the federal constitution.

  • He concluded the email with the message:

    "Thank Chief Justice Moore for standing up in defense of the law and for marriage."

    followed by the usual "Please send money" request. 4

  • Webmaster's comment: [bias alert]

    Brian Brown might have written:

    "Thank Chief Justice Moore for standing up, for ignoring the requirements of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and for unsuccessfully trying to prevent loving, committed same-sex couples from marrying, so that the state could continue to treat such couples as "legal strangers" -- as mere roommates -- without fundamental protections for themselves and their children."

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Why Roy Moore’s gay marriage gambit isn’t just Alabama being Alabama," Washington Post, 2015-FEB-09, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  2. "Scenes of same-sex marriage, and rejection, across Alabama," New York Times, 2015-FEB-09. at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  3. Bob Unruh, ""Federal judge refuses sanctions in 'gay marriage' case," WND, 2015-FEB-09, at: http://www.wnd.com/
  4. Brian Brown, "Thank Chief Justice Moore," National Organization for Marriage, 2015-FEB-10, at: http://www.nomblog.com/

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    Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Alabama > here

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2015-FEB-09
Latest update: 2015-FEB-12
Author: B.A. Robinson
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