By Michal Ortner
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy S. Moore, has challenged the June ruling to legalize national same gender marriage. He has ordered that all marriage licensing for same gender couples be halted within the state of Alabama. Moore says that he gave the administrative order so that Alabama could uphold the ban on gay marriage that had originally been passed through the Supreme Court prior to the June ruling.
“Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-s*x couples in accordance with Obergefell; others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses,” he wrote. “This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state.”
Moore, who is known as one of the most prominent conservatives in the south, says that he made the decision because of the confusion of probate judges who were uncertain as to the correct order of action at this point regarding marriage licensing. Other officials and legal experts believe that his order has only added to the confusion.
“Ordering the state’s probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to all couples who seek them constitutes an exercise in futility,” Ronald Krotoszynski, a law professor at the University of Alabama, wrote in an email. “At best, it sows chaos and confusion; at worst, it forces couples to bring federal court litigation in order to exercise a clearly established federal constitutional right.”
“Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not to disobey it,” Joyce White Vance and Kenyen R. Brown said. “This issue has been decided by the highest court in the land, and Alabama must follow that law.”
Though Moore seeks to clarify any confusion regarding the law on same gender unions, there are still several judges within the state of Alabama that refuse to issue marriage licenses altogether.
The Southern Poverty Law Center referred to Moore’s order as a “dead letter,” saying that it holds no weight in light of the Supreme Court ruling. They also said that the order reflects a “personal anti-LGBT agenda.”
“Roy Moore is obstructing same-s*x couples’ access to marriage, which they are constitutionally guaranteed,” said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. “This is just more of his shenanigans. It’s about him and his personal beliefs at this point, rather than carrying out the rule of law.”