Judge orders Alabama counties to comply with Supreme Court gay marriage ruling

On Wednesday, a U.S. district judge in Mobile ruled that probate county judges in Alabama cannot discriminate in issuing marriage licenses between gay and straight couples. After last week’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which Justices voted 5-4 that “(t)he Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex”, some county clerk’s offices across the South continued to deny applications for gay marriage licenses.

According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, seven of Alabama’s 67 counties were issuing licenses to only straight couples as of Wednesday morning, but no more than three had continued the practice after the district court ruling later the same day.

One legal maneuver that some Clerk’s Offices in the South have used to get around the Supreme Court ruling is through barring the issuance of marriage licenses altogether. 13 counties in Alabama have adopted this policy, including Pike Co., which hasn’t issued a license since February.

In January, the very same Mobile judge decided that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, a decision which was ultimately reversed by the Alabama Supreme Court in March.

Also on Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ordered judges in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, to finalize rulings on pending same-sex marriage cases to conform with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

To that end, seven Mississippi circuit clerks who previously denied gay marriage licenses said that they would now be issuing them after meeting with advisers from the state’s Attorney General.

One final known holdout remains in Red River Parish, LA, whose court clerk said they will eventually comply with the High Court’s ruling, once they hire staff that doesn’t have religious objections to a same-sex union.


[AP] [USA Today]