Same-Sex Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: States Fight Back, Won’t Issue Licenses

On the heels of the SCOTUS’ historic ruling that renders same-sex marriage the law of the land, several states are invoking their right of refusal, stating they will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Several jurisdictions have announced intentions to defy the SCOTUS ruling, vowing either to delay issuing licenses until they are compelled to do so, or not issuing licenses at all.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood responded to the massive celebration with his own statement, according to local news Channel 3.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is not effective immediately in Mississippi.”

While many same-sex couples enjoyed spontaneous weddings within moments of the monumental ruling, same-sex couples in Louisiana, Texas, and Alabama will have to wait a while to enjoy what their counterparts have already accomplished since the ruling.

In Louisiana, GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, backed by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, will not issue licenses. According to a report by the Times-Picayune, Department of Health and Hospitals spokesperson Olivia Hwang read a statement to waiting couples that told them they would not be getting married until a federal appeals court issued an order to lift Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Jindal, who has vowed to make religious liberty central to his campaign, issued a statement following the ruling.

“The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.”

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, who instructed clerks not to issue licenses until the 25-day window in which parties can ask the Supreme Court for reconsideration is closed, issued his own statement on the Attorney General website.

“This Supreme Court decision overturns the will of the people of Louisiana, and it takes away a right that should have been left to the states.”

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott echoed Jindal’s sentiments not to issue licenses immediately. Abbott vowed to issue a directive to state agencies instructing them to “prioritize the protection of Texans’ religious liberties.”

“No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.”

However, in places like Dallas County, clerks will not wait for guidance from the attorney general to issue licenses. According to Dallas News, County Clerk John Warren, who supports the ruling, said Dallas County will start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples right away. Lubbock County vowed not to issue marriage licenses until instructed to do so.

In Alabama, Probate Judge Wes Allen relied on semantics in his vow not to issue licenses to same sex couples.

“The word ‘may’ provides judges with the option of whether or not to engage in the practice of issuing marriage licenses and I have chosen not to perform that function.”

According to the New York Times, Allen said his office, which closed in February, will not issue licenses to anyone, leaving residents to obtain marriage licenses from other probate offices.

Alabama’s Geneva County has also decided it will not issue licenses to anyone, permanently closing its offices while Henry County has temporarily suspended issuing licenses.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]