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Religious Tolerance logo

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

Part 29: Alabama: Early 2015-MAR: More reactions
to Alabama Supreme Court's order to probate
judges to stop issuing SSM marriage licenses.

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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 More reactions to the Alabama Supreme Court's revolt:

  • Jess Brown, Professor of Political Science and Justice Studies at Athens State University, said:

    "While it appears that six and perhaps seven members of the Alabama Supreme Court agree with Chief Justice Moore's debatable view that the state courts are on equal footing with the lower federal courts when interpreting the U.S. Constitution, it is interesting to note that in the actual order portion of its decision, the state's highest court did not openly confront Judge Granade's ruling from a federal district court. ... The order from Alabama's Supreme Court did not order the Probate Judge of Mobile County or ... [Attorney General] Strange to undertake any actions contrary to the order issued by Judge Granade." 1

    He noted that the Alabama Supreme Court order was directed to Luther Strange -- the Attorney General of Alabama -- and Don Davis -- Probate Judge for Mobile County -- and did not involve the other 66 probate judges in the remaining counties of Alabama.

  • Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law said that Alabama is the first state to directly defy a federal order on marriage equality. He said:

    "That hasn't happened anywhere else."

  • Tim Wildmon is the President of the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group. It has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of 13 American anti-gay hate groups. 2 Wildmon said:

    "We applaud the Alabama Supreme Court for taking the courageous step of standing up to a blatant overreach by a federal judge and instead choosing to uphold the rule of law and the state's constitutional amendment protecting time-honored marriage. For far too long, we have seen errant federal judges unilaterally take the law into their own hands and strike down duly passed marriage protection provisions. The Alabama Supreme Court has shown that it does not take kindly to one federal judge upending state law and overruling the voice of thousands of Alabama voters. We hope and pray that other courts will follow suit and uphold the law, rather than cave to orders to ignore it."

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  • Professor Ron Krotoszynski at University of Alabama Law School said:

    "The Alabama Supreme Court threw down the gauntlet this week and has challenged the lower federal courts to make their same-sex marriage rulings stick. ... I don't think North Carolina and West Virginia are any less conservative but they have not put their state officials in the same bind as Alabama has put its [probate judges] . ..." 1

He suggested that if another same-sex couple was refused a marriage license by Probate Judge Don Davis, that they could sue in District Court. District Judge Granade would probably order Davis to issue a license to them. Then, same-sex couples in other Alabama counties could follow the same procedure, one couple, one county, and one court order at a time. That would paralize the court system in Alabama and probably shake something loose.

Professor Ron Krotoszynski continued:

    "Right now marriage equality is the barometer for tolerance. Singling yourself out as one of the most intolerant states in the country is not good for the [state] economy."

  • Randall Marshall, legal director for the ACLU of Alabama said:

    "Certainly Alabama stands alone in the degree to which it is resisting. Marriage equality is coming to Alabama and these current antics are a bump in the road to marriage equality. ... We're going to get there and we're not going to stop until we do." 1

Within 24 hours after an article was published on AL.com from which many of the above quotes were taken, readers had posted over 1,400 comments! 1

  • Ellen Dossett and Ann Wade had married shortly before the Alabama Supreme Court took action. Now they are uncertain about the validity of their marriage.
    • Wade told Think Progress:

      "This is the way we do things in Alabama. As soon as you get any kind of rights, they take them away from you."

    • Dossett said:

      "When I moved back here from Seattle in the 90s, my friends compared it to going behind the Iron Curtain."

  • Shane Smith, who is a lawyer and gay, said:

    "With the political climate right now, it feels like we are so unwelcome. It’s heartbreaking that this is the state where I was born, where I’ve grown up, where I’ve chosen to make a career, where my tax dollars go to keeping the city up, yet I’m denied equal rights and treated like I’m unwanted." 1

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Reactions by the public:

Readers of an MAR-03 article on the CBS News web site posted some interesting comments covering a wide range of views. A few are:

  • posted: "Now a whole bunch of homosexuals will be filing federal civil rights cases against the state of Alabama for violating their civil rights.  The Fourteenth Amendment is there for this type of thing and the federal court has already ruled on it.  The proper remedy would have been to appeal the decision to a higher federal court."

  • To which RP758 replied: "They asked the US Supreme Court to delay this but it refused. What choice did Alabama have, other than to roll over and give in to a bully?"

  • LODMUJSIC posted: "Don't really matter. Once the Supreme Court takes up the issue later this year, this becomes moot, and Alabama gets dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. And that'll probably be a 6-3 decision with our old pals Alito, Scalia and Thomas on the wrong side of history."

  • GOLDENROD30 posted: "Alabama should just secede if they don't want to follow the Constitution. Good riddance if they do."

  • TMN posted: "I feel another Civil War a-brewin."

  • FILMGUY870 posted: "The South will raze again!!!!"

  • SABRE1111: "Thanks to the Alabama voters." 3

Webmaster's clarification to the last posting above: It appears ambiguous. Two possible interpretations are:

  • Alabama Supreme Court Justices are elected by the voters, so if an Associate Justice rules in harmony with public opinion, their probability of being re-elected is greatly increased.

  • Also, the voters overhwelmingly passed the amendment to the state Constitution during the year 2000 to make marriage inequality the law of the state.

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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. Kent Faulk, "Alabama Supreme Court first in nation to defy federal court gay marriage order," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.al.com/
  2. ...
  3. "Alabama Supreme Court halts same-sex marriage," CBS News, 2015-MAR-03, at: http://www.cbsnews.com/

 

  1. Daily KOS Group, "You Won't Believe Roy Moore's Answer As To Why He's Not Like George Wallace," 2015-FEB-24, at: http://www.dailykos.com/
  2. "Supremacy Clause," Wikipedia, as on 2015-FEB-22, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. "Gov. Robert Bentley won't take action against probate judges issuing same-sex marriage licenses," Alabama Media Group, at: 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.al.com/
  4. Leada Gore, "Gov. Bentley's pastor wants him to fight feds on same-sex marriage, even if they 'drag us to jail'," Alabama Media Group, at: 2015-FEB-26, at: http://www.al.com/
  5. David Tulis, "Do we need more leadership of Gov. Bentley, Supt. Daniels type? Hardly," Nooganomics, 2015-FEB-25, at: http://nooganomics.com/
  6. "FRC Praises Alabama Supreme Court Order Respecting the Freedom of Voters to Uphold Marriage," Family Research Council," 2015-MAR-04, at: http://www.frc.org/
  7. David Demirbilek, "Southern Poverty Law Center repeats 'hate group' claim about Family Research Council," Daily Caller, 2012-SEP-13, at: http://dailycaller.com/
  8. "Polling Memorandum," WPA Opinion Research, 2015-FEB-20, at: http://downloads.frc.org/
  9. Jim Hill, "H.B. 56," Alabama Legislature, at: http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/
  10. Hubert Tate, "Activists Fast-Tracking Anti-LGBT Bill in Alabama," Human Rights Campaign, 2015-MAR-03, at: http://www.hrc.org/
  11. Hubert Tate, "HRC Unable to Confirm Any Counties Issuing Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples," Human Rights Campaign, 2015-MAR-04, at: http://www.hrc.org/
  12. Jesse Berney, Alabama Just Seceded From the Union Again","Blue Nation Review, 2015-MAR-04. This site asks that the URL of their articles not be mentioned by other web sites. However, their home page is at: http://bluenationreview.com
  13. "Alabama Supreme Court halts same-sex marriage," CBS News, 2015-MAR-03, at: http://www.cbsnews.com/
  14. Kent Faulk, "Alabama Supreme Court first in nation to defy federal court gay marriage order," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.al.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-MAR-05
Latest update: 2015-MAR-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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