Montgomery, AL – On Wednesday, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order stating that an Alabama Supreme Court ruling remains in effect, and that probate judges “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary” to Alabama’s law and state constitution, which bans same-sex marriage – in direct violation of a U.S. Supreme court ruling.
Moore wrote in his ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June had caused “confusion and uncertainty” among Alabama probate judges, due to the conflict between the state and federal rulings.
“This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state,” Moore wrote.
According to a report by AL.com:
Moore said he issued the order today in his role as administrative head of the state court system. He quoted a state law that says the chief justice is empowered to “take affirmative and appropriate action to correct or alleviate any condition or situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state.”
Moore wrote that since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that many Alabama probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while others are issuing licenses only to opposite-sex couples or not issuing licenses at all.
Last January, U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade of Mobile ruled that Alabama’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. This ruling resulted in a split among probate judges, with some issuing same-sex licenses and others refusing to do so.
In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court made its long-awaited decision, striking down state same-sex marriage bans nationwide.
In his order today, Moore stated that the Alabama Supreme Court continues to deliberate on how the U.S. Supreme Court ruling affects the state court’s orders.
Moore’s contention is that federal court rulings – post U.S. Supreme Court ruling could potentially affect Alabama, noting that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court case invalidated only the same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
He went on to say that the U.S. Eighth District Circuit Court of Appeals in Kansas found that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling “is clearly controlling Supreme Court precedent, it did not directly strike down the provisions of the Kansas Constitution and statutes that bar the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.”
The rebuke of Moore’s order was swift and fierce, with Scott McCoy, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, issuing a statement.
“Chief Justice Roy Moore today issued a dead letter,” said McCoy.
“This is Moore yet again confusing his role as chief justice with his personal anti-LGBT agenda.
“In no way does his administrative order supersede Judge Granade’s federal injunction prohibiting probate judges from enforcing discriminatory Alabama marriage laws.
“If probate judges violate the (federal) injunction, they can be held in contempt. This is Moore yet again confusing his role as chief justice with his personal anti-LGBT agenda.”
Below is Chief Justice Roy Moore’s order:
Jay Syrmopoulos is a political analyst, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, Raw Story, MintPress News, as well as many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.