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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Federal Judge Orders Alabama Judge to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gays

This was pretty much a predictable outcome. What happens next may be more interesting.

MOBILE, Ala. — A federal judge here ordered a county official in Mobile to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Gay couples waiting for marriage licenses
With the ruling, Judge Callie V. S. Granade of Federal District Court, enjoined the probate judge in Mobile County, Don Davis, from refusing to issue licenses to gay couples seeking to wed.

“Judge Davis may not deny them a license on the ground that Plaintiffs constitute same-sex couples or because it is prohibited by the sanctity of marriage,” the decision said.

The ruling came shortly after Judge Granade heard arguments from lawyers for four same-sex couples seeking to marry and a plea for clarity from the lawyer of a local probate judge. The decision was expected to send a signal to judges statewide who are caught between a federal ruling and an order from Alabama’s chief justice.

Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, who ordered defiance of a same-sex marriage ruling, once fought to keep a Ten Commandments marker in a judicial building.

Judge Granade ruled three weeks ago that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but a conflicting order from the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore, left probate judges, who issue marriage licenses, in confusion. The suit heard Thursday, which named Mr. Davis as a defendant, was intended to seek a clear directive on what probate judges should do.