Sunday, February 08, 2015

AL Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore orders state officials to not issue same-sex couple marriage licenses

I just got this tip from Joe Jervis' site.  After clamoring for so long for someone to actively defy federal court decisions for marriage equality, the anti-gay right has found their hero. And it's an old ally of theirs:

Via Huntsville's NBC affiliate:

Late Sunday night, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order in which he instructs state probate judges to neither issue nor recognize a marriage license for same-sex couples.

The order states, "Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975."

It continues to say that if any probate judge fails to follow the state constitution, "it would be the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley... to ensure the execution of the law."

The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected the State of Alabama's request to issue a stay pending an appeal of the State's ban on gay marriage. That rejection paves the way for same-sex marriages to begin on Monday.

 WAFF has a crew working to uncover more details and is in contact with experts to determine what impact this order may have for couples preparing to wed Monday morning.

Moore's action comes a day after a small number of those opposing marriage equality gathered on the state capitol building to protest the federal court's decision.

What happens next is anyone's guess but needless to say things just got a bit hairy in Alabama. No doubt, anti-gay organizations such as the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage as well as personalities such as Fox News's Todd Starnes will rally folks to Moore's side.

However, Moore cannot trump federal court decisions.  Also, what he has done just transcended marriage equality and rooted itself in stickier territory.

State judges, or anyone else for that matter, cannot just decide to defy federal court decisions simply because they disagree with them. If Moore is allowed to get away with this when it comes to marriage equality, he reduces and trivializes our very legal system.