Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order Wednesday prohibiting judges in The Yellowhammer State from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, despite a June 2015 Supreme Court ruling that requires all 50 states to issue them, Huffington Post is reporting.
The order marks an ongoing campaign Moore has waged against same-sex marriage in Alabama in defiance of court rulings, indicating that Alabama’s same-sex marriage bans have been, and are, illegal.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that same-sex marriage bans in all 50 states were illegal, and that the states must begin issuing them. Judges in Alabama – some of them, at least – complied with the ruling and began issuing the licenses.
Great things that happened in 2015: US Supreme Court legalises gay marriage. pic.twitter.com/PWZOwXZWX3
— -michael scarn- (@seqingnicole) December 31, 2015
However, the ruling was also met with defiance, both within Alabama and without. Some judges in Alabama have refused, since Obergefell, to issue same-sex marriage licenses. And outside of Alabama, Rowan Count, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis famously refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, at one point even being jailed over her defiance.
— Slate (@Slate) January 1, 2016
Moore claims, in his order, that Obergefell only applied to same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee; although he also concedes that the ruling appears to have been interpreted broadly to apply to all 50 states. He also claims that these acts of defiance since the Obergefell ruling have created a climate of “confusion and uncertainty,” and he hopes that his order will settle the matter in Alabama – at least until the Alabama Supreme Court can rule on the matter again.
“IT IS ORDERED AND DIRECTED THAT: Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”
Wednesday’s order is the latest salvo fired by Moore in his ongoing crusade against same-sex marriage in Alabama.
In Feburary 2015, according to The New York Times, Moore issued a ruling to all judges in Alabama, prohibiting them from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, even though a federal court had ruled that Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban was illegal. Some judges in Alabama obeyed Moore’s ruling and refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses; others did not, and went ahead and issued the licenses, “thrusting the state into legal turmoil,” as the Times described it.
Theoretically, the June 2015 Supreme Court Obergefell ruling should have settled the matter, although it appears clear that is not the case.
Moore has consistently been a controversial figure in Alabama, apart from the issue of gay marriage. In 2003, as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore defied a federal judge’s ruling to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the front of the Alabama Judicial Building, according to a CNN report from the time.
“It is a sad day in our country when the moral foundation of our law and the acknowledgment of God has to be hidden from public view to appease a federal judge.”
Defiant until the end, in November 2003 Alabama’s judicial ethics panel removed Moore from his position as Chief Justice.
Following his removal from office, Moore tried, unsuccessfully, to run for Governor of Alabama and even put plans into place to run for President of the United States. After those plans fell through, Moore once again set his sights on the position of Chief Justice, a position which he won, again, by popular vote in November 2012.
Do you think Roy Moore is right to rule that judges in Alabama can no longer issue same-sex marriage licenses? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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