Alabama Chief Justice: State probate judges have ‘duty’ not to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Photo Courtesy: WKRG

MONTGOMERY, AL. (WKRG) — In a four page administrative order, Chief Justice Roy Moore says, “probate judges have a ministrial 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.”

Moore says, “confusion and uncertainty exist among probate judges of this State.” The uncertainty surrounds the ruling handed down by the United States Supreme Court in the Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015. In the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court it states the cases come from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

The debate surrounds the decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, which states that marriage licenses must be in accordance with Alabama law, versus the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage this past summer.

The marriage debate in Alabama erupted on January 23, 2015 after U.S. Judge Ginny Granade, in Mobile, struck down Alabama’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In the months following the decision, several Alabama probate judges asked the Alabama Supreme Court for a way out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen filed a petition in October that says the federal government, not state offices, should issue same-sex marriage licenses. Enslen says the federal government is responsible for upholding and enforcing other laws created at the federal level.

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