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Alabama Chief Justice defies Supreme Court, blocks unions for same-sex couples

Ad by Americans United advising Alabama judges to not block same-sex marriage

Alabama Chief Justice defies Supreme Court, blocks unions for same-sex couples

Updated with photos from Birmingham, Alabama and to change some wording.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, previously known for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument, has ordered probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In a decision hailed as a victory for American Secularism, a recent court decision overturned the ban on same-sex marriages in Alabama, and the US Supreme Court refused to grant a stay, signifying the legality of marriages between same-sex couples in the state.

Richard Levy, a constitutional law professor at the University of Kansas, is quoted in the Guardian stating that the current legal framework is an inconsistent patchwork, and that it may be some time before probate judges have to issue marriage certificates.

From the Guardian article:

“It’s not 100% clear that their hand can be forced until there is a definitive supreme court ruling,” Levy said. “Once there is a definitive supreme court ruling, then that becomes binding throughout the country.”

If the supreme court rules that same-sex marriage bans are illegal, people who are being denied licenses by judges could go to a higher court and get an order forcing the judge to provide the documents. “And if they didn’t, presumably the judges could be removed,” said Levy.

Rev. Dr. Ellin Jimmerson, a Baptist minister, was featured in an LA Times article about marriage rights in Alabama. She places her support for marriage equality in a history of civil rights activism, but describes her actions as celebratory, and not political.

From the LA Times article:

Jimmerson is slated to give a homily at 9 a.m. to launch “Wedding Week,” featuring same-sex marriages and celebrations in Huntsville. Hundreds are expected to attend.

She sees it as a celebration, “not a political statement,” with cupcakes and balloons and hair stylists arriving to help couples tie the knot in a state where many churches have condemned same-sex marriage.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State are taking a different course in their efforts; Slate reports that the group is placing a large ad (featured at the top of this article) in the Montgomery Advertiser, aimed at probate judges.

Do you think the probate judges will cave before the Supreme Court issues a ruling? Do you see echoes of other political battles in this?

Photos courtesy Allie Graham, Integrity Alabama

Posted by David Streever

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Allie Graham
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This morning there were hundreds of people outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham.
I, and many others, cheers as couples walked outside with their marriage licenses. And many couples were married on the spot. I have photos if anyone is interested.

It was a great day for Alabama - and for once Birmingham being on the right side of history.

This was not the case in many counties in Alabama.

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