“Probate Judge Don Davis is hereby ENJOINED from refusing to issue marriage licenses to plaintiffs due to the Alabama laws which prohibit same-sex marriage. If Plaintiffs take all the steps that are required in the normal course of business as a prerequisite to issuing a marriage license to opposite-sex couples, Judge Davis may not deny them a license on the ground that Plaintiffs constitute same-sex couples or because it is prohibited by the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act or by any other Alabama law or Order pertaining to same-sex marriage. This injunction binds Judge Don Davis and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others active in concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage.”
So it begins.
As some Alabama judges continue to refuse the United States Constitution, to which they had hitherto sworn, federal Judge Callie Granade of the Southern District of Alabama―indeed, the very judge Chief Justice Roy Moore and others are refusing to recognize―has issued a straightforward response in ordering a Mobile County Probate Judge, Don Davis, to do his damn job.
Amanda Terkel of Huffington Post tries to explain:
A federal judge ordered a county official in Alabama to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday, saying they can no longer ignore her earlier ruling that struck down the state’s marriage equality ban.
Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban began crumbling in January, when U.S. District Judge Callie Granade found it unconstitutional. At the request of the state attorney general, Granade put a two-week stay on her ruling so the state could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and delay it even longer. On Monday morning, however, the Supreme Court declined to get involved, and Alabama became the 37th state where gay marriage is legal.
Despite the ruling, dozens of probate judges around the state have refused to comply with Granade’s ruling. According to the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, as of Thursday afternoon, only 23 of the state’s 67 counties were issuing marriage licenses to all couples.
Their defiance is due to instructions from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), who sent an order to the state’s probate judges Sunday night not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He argued that they were not bound to follow the federal ruling.
The South might hope to rise again, but this romp is pretty flaccid. Even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas knows the anti-gay day is over. But, you know, this is how it goes. Alabama really needs to fight this fight, and lose, so it can feel further injured by the fact of being American.
Granade, Callie V. S. “Order”. Strawser, et al., v. Strange and Davis. United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama Southern Division. 12 February 2015.
Terkel, Amanda. “Federal Judge Orders Alabama Official To Stop Denying Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples”. The Huffington Post. 12 February 2015.