Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriages

Justice (Photo: The Register)
(Photo: The Register)

The Alabama Supreme Court issued an injunction Tuesday not only allowing probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses but giving other probate judges five days to explain to the court why they should not have to discontinue the practice.

The all-Republican court sided with a pair of conservative organizations Tuesday in ruling that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t alter the judges’ duty to administer state law. Seven judges concurred with the opinion, one concurred in part and one dissented.

The court says Alabama has defined marriage as between only one man and one woman for about 200 years. And it says a federal court used “sleight of hand” in a case that resulted in most of Alabama allowing gay marriages last month.

The Alabama Policy Institute and the Baptist-run Alabama Citizens Action Program asked the court to halt same-sex unions after a federal judge in Mobile said Alabama laws banning them were unconstitutional.

“The named respondents are ordered to discontinue the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Within five business days following the issuance of this order, each such probate judge may file an answer responding to the relator’s petition for the writ of mandamus and showing cause, if any, why said probate judge should not be bound hereby,” the order states.

“Subject to further order of this Court upon receipt and consideration of any such answer, each such probate judge is temporarily enjoined from issuing any marriage license contrary to Alabama law as explained in this opinion,” said the opinion.”

The opinion said that when the Supreme Court said marriage was a constitutional right, it was referring to only traditional marriage.

“… the Supreme Court plainly was referring to traditional marriage when it proclaimed that marriage is a fundamental right,” the opinion said. “This is evident from the fact that in each of those cases the discussion of the right involved children.

“… what the federal district court has done is to declare an entirely new concept of “marriage” a fundamental right under the guise of the previously understood meaning of that institution.”

The opinion said the misinterpretation of the law to include same-sex marriages was purposeful.

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SOURCE: USA Today / The Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser – Rick Harmon

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