John M. Becker

AL Judge Clarifies: All Counties Must Issue Licenses

Filed By John M. Becker | January 28, 2015 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Alabama, gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

scales_justice.jpgU.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade -- the George W. Bush appointee who struck down Alabama's marriage discrimination amendment two times in four days -- has clarified the scope of her ruling, swatting down the Alabama Probate Judges Association's bogus claim that it only applies to the couple who sued.

In today's order, Judge Granade makes it perfectly clear that her decision applies statewide, and that if her stays are allowed to expire on February 9, all county clerks in Alabama will be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

"A representative of the APJA reportedly stated that this court's decision was limited to the same-sex couple that filed the case... Because the court has entered a stay of the Judgment in this case, neither the named Defendant, nor the Probate Courts in Alabama are currently required to follow or uphold the Judgment.

"However, if the stay is lifted, the Judgment in this case makes it clear that ALA. CONST. ART. I, § 36.03 and ALA. CODE § 30-1-19 are unconstitutional because they violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

She then quotes from an order issued by Judge Hinkle in the Northern District of Florida, who smacked down a similar attempt in the Sunshine State:

"History records no shortage of instances when state officials defied federal court orders on issues of federal constitutional law. Happily, there are many more instances when responsible officials followed the law, like it or not. Reasonable people can debate whether the ruling in this case was correct and who it binds. here should be no debate, however, on the question whether a clerk of court may follow the ruling, even for marriage-license applicants who are not parties to this case. And a clerk who chooses not to follow the ruling should take note: the governing statutes and rules of procedure allow individuals to intervene as plaintiffs in pending actions, allow certification of plaintiff and defendant classes, allow issuance of successive preliminary injunctions, and allow successful plaintiffs to recover costs and attorney's fees."

There you go, folks. Can't get any clearer than that. Cross your fingers that no further stays will be issued and Alabama will be allowed to join the list of marriage equality states on February 9!

A copy of today's order is after the break, via Equality Case Files.

1:14-cv-00208 #65 Order Clarifying Judgment by Equality Case Files

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