Recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality
Part 21: Alabama:
More probate judges obey the District Court.
Anti-SSM petition to the state Supreme Court.
Politicians & religious leaders respond to SSM.
In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. Also, "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community
2015-FEB-13: The number of probate judges who are issuing marriage licenses is increasing: (Cont'd):
Yahoo News reported that District Judge Granade is the granddaughter of Richard Rives, a judge at a Circuit Court in the American South. During her Senate confirmation hearing in 2001, she described her grandfather as her personal hero. She commented about his rulings during the 1950's and 1960's which advanced racial desegregation in the South:
"The issues on which he more or less broke with precedent were ones which really flew in the face of the [federal] Constitution. I think a judge will always be correct if the decisions that he or she makes are consistent with the plain language of the Constitution. 1
A news video by Yahoo! News, proceeded by the inevitable brief commercial, describes activity on FEB-13:
The New York Times published an article on FEB-13 with a map of Arizona. It showed:
- 55 counties that were issuing or planning to issue marriage licenses to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
- 6 counties that were issuing licenses to opposite-sex couples, but refusing to serve same-sex couples.
- 7 counties that were not issuing licenses to any couples.
The map shows that licenses were freely available to same-sex couples in many of the cities in Alabama, including: Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa.
However, the New York Times reported on FEB-18 that the Human Rights Campaign counted only 48 counties issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 2
2015-FEB-13: Alabama Supreme Court received an emergency request from two conservative non-profit organizations to halt same-sex marriage licenses in the state:
The Alabama Policy Institute (API) and Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) are two conservative non-profit groups in Alabama that strongly oppose marriage equality. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed to consider whether to act on an emergency petition for writ of mandamus from the two groups'. The petition asked that the Court stop the issuance of more marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state.
Joe Godfrey, executive director of ALCAP hopes that the petition will stop same-sex marriages in Alabama until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a combined lawsuit involving appeals from four states: Kentucky, Michigan Ohio, and Tennessee. The high court will hold hearings on this case in April and is expected to issue their ruling in late June or early July. Most commentators expect that this will harmonize marriages of same-sex couples across the entire country. However, opinions vary about the content of their ruling. They range all the way from marriage equality throughout the U.S. to a ban on marriage equality anywhere in the U.S.
"The whole idea is to try to stop all the chaos in Alabama right now." 2
On the same day, a third non-profit group -- Equality Alabama (EQ) -- filed an amicus curiae brief with the State Supreme Court asking that it reject the petition. Ben Cooper, board chair of EQ, stated that the request by API and ALCAP:
"... is nothing but an attempt at delaying the happiness that all families deserve -- a last-ditch, failing effort to stand in the way of the love we've seen in this historic week. The petition should be dismissed, and all probate judges in every corner of the state should follow the law." 4
Jason Rahlan, of the Human Rights Campaign, described the emergency petition as:
"... disgraceful and ineffectual. ...The simple fact is marriage equality is the law of the land in Alabama. ... The Alabama Supreme Court cannot overturn a decision by the federal court." 2
Equality Alabama's brief also claims that the court should reject the petition because the petitioners do not have standing to represent the people of Alabama.
Lawyers from the ACLU of Alabama Foundation, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, are supporting Equality Alabama. 4,5
Meanwhile, Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that opposes marriage equality, filed their own petition with the Alabama Supreme Court. They seek to end the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
On FEB-13, by a vote of 6 to 2, the Court agreed to consider API and ALCAP's petition. Chief Justice Roy Moore was the only member of the court to not vote in the court's decision. The court asked that probate judges send their briefs to the court by Wednesday, FEB-18. 11
2015-FEB-14: Some political and religious leaders expressed their views on the situation in Alabama:
- Politico attempted to interview Republican politicians who are considered likely contenders as the GOP candidate for the presidency in 2016. They were unsuccessful at obtaining detailed opinions. The party itself is in a difficult position, because the independent vote often determines who will win an elections, and Independents are increasingly supportive of marriage equality. Some responses:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Kim Chandler, "Alabama's stand against gay marriage crumbles," Yahoo! News, 2015-FEB-13, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
- Richard Fausset, "Fresh Challenge to Gay Marriage Increases Confusion in Alabama," New York Times, 2015-FEB-18, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
- Kyler Geoffroy, "Alabama Supreme Court to consider Liberty Counsel's petition to stop issuance of same-sex marriage licenses," Towleroad, 2015-FEB-14, at: http://www.towleroad.com/
- Kent Faulk, "Alabama Supreme Court to consider petition seeking halt to same-sex marriage licenses," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-14, at: http://www.al.com/
- Kelsey Stein, "Nonprofit asks Alabama Supreme Court to dismiss petition seeking to uphold same-sex marriage ban," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-13, at: http://www.al.com/
- Jonathan Topaz, "The GOP's gay marriage dodge: The latest dispute in Alabama? That’s a topic they’d rather avoid," Politico, 2015-FEB-14, at: http://www.politico.com/
- Leada Gore. "Franklin Graham on gay marriage in Alabama ...," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-14, at: http://www.al.com/
- Campbell Robertson, "Most Alabama Judges Begin to Issue Licenses for Same-Sex Marriages," New York Times, 2015-FEB-13, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
- "Sanctity of Marriage Alabama," Facebook, at: https://www.facebook.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2015-FEB-14
Latest update: 2015-FEB-19
Author: B.A. Robinson