Two more Alabama counties have said they will resume issuing marriage licenses to all couples seeking them, including same-sex couples, admitting that all legal options to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage have been exhausted.
Houston and Henry counties had refused issuing marriage licenses to any couples so as to avoid having to provide legal recognition of gay marriages. The counties had hoped that the Supreme Court would reconsider its ruling during a 25-day window that allowed the court to review its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. However, with that window having expired Tuesday and the Court taking no further action on same-sex marriage, the two obstinate counties conceded defeat.
“During [the 25-day] period the Henry County Probate Office suspended the issuance of all marriage licenses pending further legal developments,” [Henry County Probate Judge David] Money said in a statement. “Henry County continues to maintain the position that we will abide by all federal and state laws related to the issuance of marriage licenses. After consultation with the Alabama Probate Judges Association, the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama as well as with attorneys for those associations, and after recognizing that all legal options have been exhausted, the Henry County Probate Office will resume the issuance of marriage licenses on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.”
As for Houston County:
“According to Rule 44 of the United States Supreme Court, ‘Any petition for rehearing of any judgment or decision of the Court … shall be filed within 25 days after entry of the judgment or decision…,’” [Houston County Probate Judge Patrick] Davenport said in his statement. “Having delayed the issuance of marriage licenses in Houston County for the time allowed by law for a motion to rehear by the U.S. Supreme Court under Rule 44 and having determined after consultation with the Houston County Attorney that all legitimate legal options have been exhausted, the Houston County Probate Office will begin issuing marriage licenses immediately.”
Judges in Pike and Geneva counties are still not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.