Recap of First Day of Marriage Equality in Alabama: Legal Maneuvering while Loving Couples Left Waiting

Posted: February 10, 2015 in bat-s**t-crazy, homosexuality, legal / law, politics
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As I said in my post two days ago, Monday would be interesting in Alabama with all the legal stuff (and, I would argue, illegal stuff) going on. I think the headlines are what really tell much of the story.

From World Net Daily, we have these, all written by Anti-Homo-in-Chief Bob Unruh (all comment counts are preliminary since these are less than 24 hours old):

*This story has gone through at least four different headlines. The first was, “Drastic Measure Taken on ‘Gay’ Marriage.” The second, I didn’t copy down. The third was “Supremes Won’t Stop ‘Gay’ Marriage,” and the last one I saw was “Alabama Begins Marrying ‘Gay’ Couples.”

And, I have lots of headlines from other news outlets, including many from blogger Joe Jervis at “Joe.My.God” or “JMG” for short. These are in temporal order, starting late Sunday night, and by reading the headlines, you’ll be able to tell a lot of what happened.

That is a lot of news coverage. To try to summarize for y’all who don’t want to even skim that list, there was a basic sequence of events:

  1. Judge Roy Moore on Sunday night sent a letter to all probate court judges telling them NOT to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He stated in the letter that the Governor could take action against them if they did, though the Governor’s office said they had no idea what Moore was talking about. Because, you know, The Bible. And Icky Stuff.

    “The U.S. district courts have no power or authority to redefine marriage. Once you start redefining marriage, that’s the ultimate power. Would it overturn the laws of incest? Bigamy? Polygamy? How far do they go? A lot of states in this union have caved to such unlawful authority, and this is not one This is Alabama. We don’t give up the recognition that law has bounds. I disagree with standing in the schoolhouse door to prevent blacks from getting equal education. We’re talking about a constitutional amendment to preserve the recognition that marriage is one man and one woman, as it has been for centuries.” – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, speaking this afternoon to NBC News.

  2. This created a patchwork of counties in Alabama that were offering licenses to everyone (few), offering licenses only to opposite-sex couples (more), or none at all (most).

    Alabama Counties Status of Marriage Licenses, February 10, 2015

    Alabama Counties Status of Marriage Licenses, February 10, 2015

  3. The Governor came out and said that he wasn’t going to do anything against probate judges who followed Moore’s directive or who followed the Federal court’s directive. But he did NOT want to be compared to Gov. George Wallace who, half a century ago, stood in the way of National Guard troops after the Federal courts ruled against desegregation. (This comparison was being made a lot yesterday.)

    Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, said he believes strongly that marriage is between one man and one woman, but that the issue should be “worked out through the proper legal channels” and not through defiance of the law. The governor noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama — events chronicled in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.” “I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

  4. Some judges refusing to comply with the the Federal order were mocked.
    Alabama Probate Judge Refusing to Follow the US Constitution

    Alabama Probate Judge Refusing to Follow the US Constitution

  5. Others were sued, but the Federal judge did nothing:

    Probate Judge Don Davis is not a party in this case and the Order of January 23, 2015, did not directly order Davis to do anything. Judge Davis’s obligation to follow the Constitution does not arise from this court’s Order. The Clarification Order noted that actions against Judge Davis or others who fail to follow the Constitution could be initiated by persons who are harmed by their failure to follow the law. However, no such action is before the Court at this time.

  6. So, the actual plaintiffs are now suing.

That’s kinda where we are today, or as of noon today. I could talk about a lot of issues here. Including Judge Moore making many of his arguments on Facebook, and then deleting them, like the one below.

One of Roy Moore's Rants on Facebook that Were Deleted

One of Roy Moore’s Rants on Facebook that Were Deleted

Or that this is a huge case of judicial activism, which I thought conservatives were against. Or questions about authority, and whether Moore actually has any authority over probate judges. Or the apt or inapt comparisons to George Wallace. Or that in the refusal of the Supreme Court of the United States to grant a stay of the Federal judge’s order could be interpreted (by Justice Thomas’ own remarks) as the tacit admission that that is how the Supreme Court will rule later this year.

Instead, I think I’ll just point out the real effect here: In all this posturing, to try to uphold their religion (and let’s be honest: There is no reason to be against this other than religion, and it’s what’s been the focus of all Moore’s (and others’) arguments), they are hurting real people. People who love each other and just want the recognition of the state that opposite-sex couples have always enjoyed. This isn’t just some vague issue. It’s a real one with real victims.

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Comments
  1. Tea Partier says:

    My stand on Gay marriage has changed a lot over the past couple years. Right now I’m at the “why is this even a federal government issue?” point. It seems to me that since “marriage” is not a Constitutionally protected right, that each state should have a simple vote on gay marriage. Yes it’s legal, or no it’s not. Boom, it’s done. If you live in a state that doesn’t allow gay marriage, move. If you live in a state that does allow gay marriage and you don’t like that, move. If you live in a state that doesn’t allow ANY marriage and you are alright with that, stay there, if not, move. This could all be solved in a day (ok, give it a week at the most). The reason that is not happening is that it is a huge topic and therefore sells big time with the media.

    • Stuart Robbins says:

      *IF* there were absolutely no legal rights nor responsibilities associated with it, I’d agree with you. But there are. Therefore I don’t. As start to deny those legal rights and responsibilities to a group of people because you think it’s icky or goes against your sacred book (in some interpretations), it becomes discrimination and an “equal protections” issue as well as civil rights issue, to me. That’s my opinion, you may disagree, but this is something I’m not going to budge on.

      • Tea Partier says:

        That is what I’m saying. Marriage shouldn’t have any legal rights or responsibilities associated with it. There should not even be marriage licenses, asking permission from the government to allow you to be married is absolutely ridiculous and should be abolished completely. I’m down right anarchist when it comes to marriage I must admit. If someone wants to “marry” their pet turtle go for it, because there should be no tax deduction or special treatment of a married vs. un-married individual. I could go down the path that many Christians take and say that marriage is a religious institution between God, and the couple and in some ways it is, but I don’t want to go their because we do not live in a Theocracy. Allow anyone to marry whoever/whatever they want with the only restrictions coming from the State that you live in. I’d vote for the person that said those very words.

    • Stuart Robbins says:

      P.S. This is related, but not quite this particular issue. However, I think the middle paragraph is very poignant. I’ve bolded the main sentence, in my opinion:

      Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s distortion of religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case, some state legislatures are considering bills that would allow government officials to decline to perform marriages that offend them religiously. A number of states are also considering legislation to let people exempt themselves from anti-discrimination and other laws if compliance would offend them religiously. While misleadingly framed as protecting religious liberty, these bills are really intended to allow discrimination and to let conservatives impose their religious beliefs on others.

      So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits? What if a woman’s ability to find adequate healthcare depended on finding an employer and a pharmacist with compatible religious beliefs? What if people’s basic rights varied depending on where they were, and upon the prevailing religious beliefs of people in the area? What would such a religiously balkanized nation look like?

      It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

  2. […] Recap of First Day of Marriage Equality in Alabama: Legal Maneuvering while Loving Couples Left&nbsp… […]

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