Alabama has been "ground zero" for opposition to same-sex marriage. Two more developments help it keep that title. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, in Prattville, Alabama last week, a Unitarian minister pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges and was sentenced to six months unsupervised probation and a $250 fine. The charges were filed last February when Anne Susan DiPrizio offered to marry a lesbian couple who had just received a marriage license, planning to conduct the ceremony inside the Autauga County Probate Office. However, the local Probate Judge had stopped all marriages in the office. After DiPrizio refused to leave, sheriff's deputies were called and disorderly conduct charges were filed.
Meanwhile also last week, the Alabama state Senate passed and sent to the state House of Representatives SB 377 (full text) that would end the issuance of marriage licences in the state. Instead a couple would enter a "marriage contract" containing specified information and would record that contract in the office of the county probate court. If and when same-sex marriage becomes legal in Alabama, this procedure eliminates the issue of whether a probate court employee who objects to same-sex marriage must issue a license to a same-sex couple. The bill's sponsor defines the bill's purpose more broadly, saying: "When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties." (Yellowhammer News, 4/30/15).