Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is used to being in headlines -- but Wednesday's weren't exactly accurate ones. Like several of the country's clerks and judges, Roy Moore made no secret of where he stands on same-sex marriage -- and he's fought it with every judicial tool at his disposal. And while some have accused him of defying the Supreme Court's decision to redefine marriage, the reality is that Moore is simply holding out until an official decision is reached in his state.
Most people are probably wondering: Didn't the Supreme Court already make that determination for Alabama in Obergefell? The answer is yes and no. Last spring, before five justices decided to rewrite thousands of years of natural law, the Alabama Supreme Court had upheld the state's marriage amendment. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, there's some confusion as to what the state's decision means in light of that. Right now, the Alabama Supreme Court is currently considering the impact of Obergefell on its ruling last March.
Until it rules, Chief Justice Moore is telling probate judges to continue to follow his administrative order from last March: "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."
FRC president Tony Perkins
To be clear, this is an administrative order -- not a ruling on the merits. All it does is simply reaffirm Moore's position while the Alabama Supreme Court deliberates. The media, however, seized on the memo to probate judges as proof that Justice Moore is somehow rebelling against the courts. In reality, he's simply doing what he can to delay the process and force others to act -- instead of willfully allowing same-sex "marriage" in Alabama on his watch. Nothing that Justice Moore has done is outside of his authority or the boundaries of his role. Until the state supreme court rules (and there's little doubt as to how they will), no outcome from the high court is final. In the meantime, we applaud Justice Moore for morally and constitutionally opposing an unjust ruling -- and ensuring that the state's process is followed before the redefinition of marriage is unleashed there.
There is NO confusion. SCOTUS declared marriage equality legal and that's the end of it. Let's not play games here. Roy Moore is a cheap, dictatorial demagogue who seems to think that HIS religious beliefs supersedes America's laws and court procedures. He is a fool with power, which makes him a somewhat dangerous fool, but a fool nonetheless.
And the fact that the Family Research Council jumps through hoops to defend his madness more than adequately demonstrates its anti-gay animus and gives proper justification as to why it was declared to be an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Now meanwhile, in the REAL world:
Two federal prosecutors in Alabama say that Alabama probate judges are not free to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage and deny gay couples marriage licenses, despite an order from Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
"The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has issued an administrative order, directing probate judges that they may not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year on marriage equality," according to a statement issued Wednesday night by U.S. Attorneys Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama and Kenyen Brown of the Southern District of Alabama.
"We have grave concerns about this order, which directs Alabama probate judges to disobey the ruling of the Supreme Court," Vance and Brown stated. "Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not to disobey it. This issue has been decided by the highest court in the land and Alabama must follow that law."