ALABAMA: Liberty Counsel Advises State Supreme Court On Defying Obergefell
Asked by the Alabama Supreme Court for advice on what to do next on same-sex marriage, two conservative advocacy groups in the state have urged both direct and indirect resistance to the Supreme Court’s ruling mandating a constitutional right for gays and lesbians to wed. The state court, the groups argued, has the constitutional power to refuse even to accept what the Justices have done, and has a constitutional duty to insulate state officials from legal risk if they do not obey the decision based on a religious objection.Co-authoring the brief is Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.
The thirty-three-page brief was filed on Monday by the Alabama Policy Institution, a think tank, and by the Alabama Citizens Action Program, an inter-denominational church support group, which earlier had persuaded the state’s highest court to block all of the state’s sixty-eight probate judges from issuing any marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though all of them were under an order to do so by a federal judge in Mobile.
Depending on what the state court now does, it could set up a new federal-state collision that potentially could go to the Supreme Court. Lower federal courts could take direct action against state trial court judges, but only the Supreme Court could review a decision by the Alabama Supreme Court on a federal constitutional issue.
have stopped issuing all marriage licenses.
The 13 counties that have stopped issuing licenses are home to an estimated 464 same-sex couples, 20% of which are raising children. A total of 441,437 people live within the impacted counties and a majority of these counties have poverty rates exceeding the state average of 18.6%. “These closures are causing unnecessary complications and burdens for any couple – gay or straight – who seeks to marry in their home county. Why should a couple have to drive for over an hour to get a marriage license? What if a couple can’t marry because they have an unreliable car, or they can’t get the time off work? We urge all counties in Alabama to immediately begin issuing licenses to same-sex and opposite-sex couples,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality, which promotes LGBT equality across the South.