Clergy member pleads guilty in case of attempted matrimony

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No one wanted her to do jail time, least of all herself. There was some confusion and frustration as the plea deal was hashed out, but Anne Susan DiPrizio, a Unitarian minister in Prattville, Alabama, eventually left the courthouse Monday with a suspended sentence and unsupervised probation for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The case stemmed from an attempt in February to solemnize the marriage of a couple who had just obtained their license from Autauga County Probate Office. The Montgomery Advertiser explains:

Probate Judge Al Booth had halted all marriage ceremonies in the office the day before. DiPrizio refused to leave the office after sheriff’s deputies were called and she was charged with disorderly conduct, court records show. She spent about three hours in the Autauga Metro Jail that day before posting a bond of $1,000, jail records show. …

DiPrizio’s arrest came in the midst of controversy over same sex marriage being allowed in Alabama. Her arrest garnered national and international media attention.

Usually misdemeanor cases are heard in Autauga District Court. Fuller took the case after District Judge Joy Booth recused herself. She is Probate Judge Al Booth’s daughter-in-law.

The decision in January of a district court judge to strike down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages was defied by some probate judges. In March, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld an appeal against the federal ruling, and ordered judges to stop issuing licenses to gay couples. The US Supreme Court is expected to rule on marriage equality in June.

Posted by Rosalind Hughes

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David Allen
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David Allen

I guess I don't really see the necessity of her actions. The county was issuing marriage licenses. As his sole form of protest left to marriage equality, the probate judge ruled that no marriages would be solemnized in the licensing office. No opposite gender marriages and no same gender marriages. No discrimination involved.

She could have as easily performed this marriage in front of the building and nothing would have happened. Sometimes I feel my GLBT brothers and sister and our allies rock the boat when it isn't necessary!

Bro David

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Scott Elliott
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Scott Elliott

You are exactly right, David. This is a non-story; certainly not an equality story. If she and the couple had gone outside, or down the block, or anywhere everything would have been just fine.

And everything would have been exactly the same as it was if it had been a straight couple she was marrying.

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Eric Bonetti
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Eric Bonetti

Yup. Glad to see clergy with the courage to stand up and be counted.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

"Stars in her crown," as my late mother used to say. Good on ya, Rev. DiPrizio.

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