BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has reinforced the state’s ban on homosexual “marriage” as per a directive issued last spring, forbidding probate judges from issuing licenses that are contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.
“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,” wrote Roy Moore in an order on Wednesday.
As previously reported, in 2013, two lesbians in the state sued Gov. Robert Bentley, Attorney General Luther Strange and Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis—among others—in an attempt to overturn Alabama’s marriage amendment after one of the women was denied from adopting the other woman’s child.
In January 2015, U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled in favor of the women, prompting Moore to send a memo to probate judges throughout the state, advising that they are not required to issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples as he believed that Grenade’s ruling only applied to the two women. But while over 50 judges decided to obey Moore, others opted to issue the licenses.
As confusion ensued, one probate judge, John Enslen of Elmore County, asked the court for further guidance. In March, six of the nine judges of the Alabama Supreme Court released a historic order halting the issuance of same-sex “marriage” licenses in the state. Moore recused himself from the matter and was not included in the order.
“As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman,” the 148-page order read. “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”
In Moore’s writings on Wednesday, he noted that his order does not weigh in on how June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling has impact on the Alabama Supreme Court’s directive.
However, he simultaneously outlined that “[i]n 1885, the Supreme Court of the United States described marriage as ‘the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.'”
Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis immediately complied with Moore’s order, posting a notice at his office.
“In order to comply with the administrative order of Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore dated January 6, 2016 and rulings of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, the court is not issuing marriage licenses to any applicants until further notice,” he wrote. “This action is necessary to ensure full compliance with all court rulings that apply to the court and to Mobile County Judge of Probate Don Davis. We regret any inconvenience encountered.”