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Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage In 'Defiant' Ruling

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d0d6636f970c-300wiIn an opinion issued Tuesday night, the Alabama State Supreme Court upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage and in so doing contravened a ruling from a U.S. district court judge who down the marriage ban.

The court was unconvinced by and unconcerned with the streak of rulings (nearly 60 to date) from both federal and state courts which have found bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, arguing, “state courts may interpret the United States Constitution independently from, and even contrary to, federal courts." The court stated it would not heed any order from any federal court contradicting its own save for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Remarkably, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore recused himself from the case.

The Washington Post reports:

The Alabama justices were defiant. “As it has done for approximately two centuries,” the court said, “Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman.” Alabama judges have a duty “not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

The resistance in Alabama, where states’ rights has always been sacred writ and state supreme court justices are elected rather than appointed, has been compared by many to that state’s resistance to school desegregation orders in the 1963, when Gov. George Wallace (D) stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent the court-ordered enrollment of black students.

Indeed, the court entrenched itself in its "choice" to uphold a "traditional" definition of marriage:

[The court] accused other courts of employing “sleight of hand” to confer “fundamental-rights status on a concept of marriage divorced from its traditional understanding.”

“Throughout the entirety of its history, Alabama has chosen the traditional definition of marriage,” the court said in a per curiam opinion, issued in the name of the court rather than a specific justice. “… That fact does not change simply because the new definition of marriage has gained ascendancy in certain quarters of the country, even if one of those quarters is the federal judiciary.”

“Marriage has always been between members of the opposite sex,” it said. “The obvious reason for this immutable characteristic is nature. Men and women complement each other biologically and socially. Perhaps even more obvious, the sexual union between men and women (often) produces children. … In short, government has an obvious interest in offspring and the consequences that flow from the creation.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) called the ruling bizarre, rambling and outrageous."The Alabama state Supreme Court does not have the authority to interfere with a federal court order," said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. "This order is outrageous and baffling, and no amount of legalese can hide the bare animus that forms the foundation of this extralegal ruling."

The case is likely to be appealed to the federal courts. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is still slated to hear arguments this spring on challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. 

Read the ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

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WATCH: AL Governor Robert Bentley's Pastor Prays for Him to Defy Court Ruling, Fight Gay Marriage

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Alabama Governor Robert Bentley may have expressed his desire to see Alabama "move forward" on the issue of gay marriage and not repeat some of the same mistakes that have plagued his state in the past, but if it was up to his pastor, Bentley would still be standing George Wallace-style in courthouses across the state blocking gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses. 

Right Wing Watch reports:

BentleyIn a sermon earlier this month, Gil McKee, the pastor of the Tuscaloosa church attended by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, recalled how he pleaded with the governor to stand with the state’s Chief Justice Roy Moore and refuse to follow a federal court ruling legalizing marriage equality in the state. [...]

McKee told his congregation that he had had a long talk with Bentley urging him to defy the courts on marriage, implying that same-sex marriage could lead to the collapse of the United States. 

“Here’s what I said to our governor yesterday,” McKee said. “'Governor, I don’t care if all 49 other states go for this same-sex marriage business, let’s be different in the state of Alabama. Let’s do what we know is the right thing to do … The reality is, we’re still living in a very conservative state. The people who are conservative and who are Christian, if you’ll just step up and lead out on this thing, if you’ll give the word to our chief justice to call all our probate judges…and say, "listen, don’t you issue one single license until the federal government does its thing and we decide whether we’re going to follow it or not, don’t you issue one of those." I’m telling you, the people of this state would rally behind that.'” 

Watch a portion of the hate-filled sermon, AFTER THE JUMP...

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John Oliver Takes Aim at Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore and the Problem of Elected Judges: VIDEO

Oliver

Fun fact: 85% of state judges in America are elected. Unsurprisingly, this didn't sit well with John Oliver, who devoted his top story of last night's Last Week Tonight to highlighting the numerous conflicts of interest that arise when judges must pander to the electorate and accept campaign money in order to keep their jobs. 

Exhibit A on Oliver's list of problematic judges is Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who Oliver says is living up to his state slogan "Alabama: Boldly refusing to accept diversity and the inevitable since 1819" with his continued efforts to try and stop gay marriage.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Jon Stewart Rips Roy Moore and Alabama a New One for Denying Marriages to Gay Couples: VIDEO

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In his Daily Show return this week, Jon Stewart took a brilliant look at the nonsense which went down in Alabama earlier this month after Chief Justice Roy Moore decided he was going to defy federal court orders that the state hand out marriage licenses to gay couples.

"In the minds of these judges and clerks, Biblical law supersedes federal law," Stewart notes, before reminding us of the state constitutional amendment passed last year prohibiting state judges and officials from basing any of their decisions on foreign law.

"Hmm. Where was the Bible written again?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Roy Moore Tries to School President Obama on the Legality of Gay Marriage in Alabama: VIDEO

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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace today to discuss same-sex marriage's arrival in Alabama. While Moore spent most of the interview attempting to explain the legal underpinnings of his continued fight against marriage equality, he also had a response message for President Obama - who spoke up about the reincarnated George Wallace during a recent Buzzfeed interview.

Said Moore:

"But what this Harvard professor who is president of the United States does not understand, is that a trial court’s decision on the constitutionality of a federal question is just that — it’s an opinion. It may be law of the case before her. It is not overturning the Alabama constitution. Federal law is not made by judges."

Wallace also asked Moore whether or not he would abide by the Supreme Court should it decide this year that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Beautiful New Video Celebrates First Day of Marriage Equality in Alabama: WATCH

Freedom to Marry Alabama

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is doing his damnedest to try and stem the tide of change and keep inequality alive and well in his state...but he's failing. Freedom to Marry has collected videos of happily - and lawfully - wedded gay and lesbian couples in Alabama, reminding us that there is light at the end of this tunnel, and with 47 counties and counting issuing marriage licenses, that hateful oppression that Moore and his ilk would impose upon his LGBT citizens is withering away more each day.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, wrote a piece at The Advocate that warns against resting on laurels, reminding us that "winning" is not the same as "won", and that there is still work to do.

For now, though, treat yourself to three minutes of joy with Freedom to Marry's montage AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Beautiful New Video Celebrates First Day of Marriage Equality in Alabama: WATCH" »


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