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Confusion in Alabama Despite Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage from Supreme Court
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Alabama gay marriage fight

Summary: A small number of counties in Alabama have begun issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a ruling from the Supreme Court. 

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined a request to block gay marriages in Alabama, according to The Los Angeles Times.


The Human Rights Campaign reports that close to 53 out of the 67 counties in Alabama refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

With Alabama issuing same-sex licenses, 37 states and the District of Columbia have gay marriage.

The decision on Monday came with a 7-2 vote and sent a signal that the majority of the Supreme Court will be in favor of defeating gay marriage bans across the country.

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To read more about the Supreme Court, click here.

In the dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question. This is not the proper way to discharge our … responsibilities. And, it is indecorous for this Court to pretend that it is.”

“Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States.”

The other dissenting vote came from Justice Antonin Scalia.

The statutory and constitutional bans on gay marriage were ruled unconstitutional in January by U.S. District Judge Callie Granade. She also put the order on hold to allow the state to appeal the ruling.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said he is disappointed with the ruling.

To read more about same-sex marriage, click here.

“This issue has created confusion with conflicting direction for Probate Judges in Alabama. Probate Judges have a unique responsibility in our state, and I support them. I will not take any action against Probate Judges, which would only serve to further complicate this issue,” Governor Bentley said. “We will follow the rule of law in Alabama, and allow the issue of same-sex marriage to be worked out through the proper legal channels.”

Luther Strange, the Alabama Attorney General, agreed with the Governor.

“I regret the Supreme Court’s decision not to stay the federal district court’s ruling until the high court finally settles the issue this summer,” he said. “In the absence of a stay, there will likely be more confusion in the coming months leading up to the Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage.”

The chief justice of Alabama, Roy Moore, wrote a letter to probate judges on Sunday night that warned them against issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

In response to Moore’s letter, Strange said, “To clarify my authority in this matter, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office does not issue marriage licenses, perform marriage ceremonies, or issue adoption certificates. The Chief Justice has explained in a public memorandum that probate judges do not report to me. I advise probate judges to talk to their attorneys and associations about how to respond to the ruling.”

To read more about Alabama, click here.

Probate Judge Jerry Powell told the LA Times, “Right now we’re not going to do it. We have direct orders from the state Supreme Court here in Alabama, and I’m going to adhere to it.”

Will all counties eventually issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? Cast your vote using our poll.

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