Liberty Counsel is representing Probate Judge Nick Williams and other Alabama probate judges who refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade has set Monday as the day when she said the state should begin issuing these licenses.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “At this time, no Alabama probate judge is bound by Judge Granade’s order. This sole federal judge does not have jurisdiction to order all state probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” Staver said.
Staver sites the following reasons: First, Judge Granade is situated in the Southern District of Alabama, and her territorial jurisdiction does not extend to probate judges in the Middle and Northern Districts. Second, Judge Grenade has no personal jurisdiction over Southern District probate judges because they were not parties to her current cases. Third, Attorney General Luther Strange, to whom Granade directed her order to perform same-sex marriages, is a member of the executive branch and does not perform marriages. Probate judges are members of the judicial branch. Finally, as members of the state judicial branch, probate judges are not bound by the decisions of the lower federal courts, as confirmed by multiple Alabama and U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Staver points out that the Alabama code does not mandate that a judge of probate perform marriage for anyone. “No two people seeking a marriage ceremony have the right to demand that the ceremony be performed by a particular judge at a particular time and place. Any number of accommodations can be made that would give couples (whether same-sex or opposite-sex) access to a judge, while also protecting an individual judge’s rights of conscience and free speech,” Staver added.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has explained, in a letter and memorandum, the illegality and illegitimacy of current federal cases purporting to strike down marriage. “We concur with and support the opinion of Chief Justice Moore,” Staver concluded.
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