Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Orders Probate Judges To Stop Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Yesterday, in a 134-page per curiam opinion, the Alabama Supreme Court by a 7-1 vote issued a writ of mandamus ordering Probate Court judges around the state to discontinue the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In Ex parte State of Alabama ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute, (AL Sup. Ct., March 3, 2015), those probate judges not specifically named as relators in the mandamus action were joined as defendants and given 5 days to show why they should not be bound by the order. In the meantime they were temporarily enjoined from issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples. The court dealt at length with procedural issues and went on to reject in a lengthy argument the rationale in federal district court cases that have held Alabama's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. Justice Main filed a brief concurring opinion. Justice Shaw dissented.  Chief Justice Roy Moore did not participate in the decision.  Liberty Counsel issued a press release announcing the decision. New York Times  and Reuters report on the court's action.