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Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage

03-04-2015
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The Alabama Supreme Court has put a halt to same-sex marriage in their state.

The justices are defying federal courts and ordering state probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Six justices on the court ruled that the U.S. Constitution doesn't alter the judges' duty to administer state law.

Alabama law defines marriage as between only one man and one woman, and the justices say a federal court cannot tell them to change that.

The court's most outspoken opponent of gay marriage, Chief Justice Roy Moore, recused himself from the case.

Joe Godfrey, executive director of the Baptist-run Alabama Citizens Action Program, said the high court's decision will create "some stability" in Alabama until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on marriage later this year.

The National Organization for Marriage commended Alabama's Supreme Court for their continuing support of traditional marriage.

"The Alabama Supreme Court is exactly correct that no federal judge has the power to order a state to issue illegal marriage licenses. Other states should follow suit," NOM President Brian Brown said.

Additionally, the Coalition of African American Pastors honored Justice Roy Moore on Wednesday with an award for his continued support of traditional marriage.

The group is outraged over Attorney General Eric Holder's comparison of the same-sex marriage movement to the Civil Rights Movement.

"It's not a civil rights movement. It's a civil wrongs movement," Rev. William Owens, the groups founder and president, said.

David Kennedy, a lawyer for the same-sex couple who sued the state over the gay marriage ban, said he believes same sex couples denied marriage licenses will just keep suing the state until they can legally wed.

"The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the stay would expire on Feb. 9. On Feb. 9, same-sex marriage effectively became legal in Alabama," he said.

Many Alabama probate judges are confused and conflicted over whether to abide by the state or federal rulings. Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed, a Democrat and one of the first to comply with U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, said Wednesday that he has no choice but to turn gays and lesbians away again.

"As a named party in continuing litigation on this matter, I am bound by this order from the state's highest court, whether I agree with it or not," he said. 

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