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[STATEMENT] Alabama’s Supreme Court halts gay marriages

Alabama’s all-Republican Supreme Court ordered Tuesday that probate judges in the state must stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite multiple federal rulings in the state that struck down a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

Six justices agreed in the 134-page opinion, while Associate Justice James Allen Main concurred in part but concurred with the order, and Associate Justice Greg Shaw dissented. Chief Justice Roy S. Moore - an outspoken opponent of gay marriage - recused himself.

“Every day, more and more purported ‘marriage licenses’ are being issued to same-sex couples by some of the probate judges in this state,” the court said in its ruling. “Every day, the recipients of those licenses and others with whom they interact may be, and presumably are, relying upon the validity of those licenses in their personal and business affairs.”

Justice Shaw, the only justice who dissented, said it was “unfortunate” that the federal courts had refused to stay the order that struck down Alabama’s gay marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue later this year.

Same-sex marriage had become legal in the state in early February.

The section from the Alabama Supreme Court’s that delivers the ruling is copied below.

STARTS

IV. Order

The named respondents are ordered to discontinue the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Further, and pursuant to relator Judge Enslen's request that this Court, "by any and all lawful means available to it," ensure compliance with Alabama law with respect to the issuance of marriage licenses, each of the probate judges in this State other than the named respondents and Judge Davis are joined as respondents in the place of the "Judge Does" identified in the petition. Within five business days following the issuance of this order, each such probate judge may file an answer responding to the relator's petition for the writ of mandamus and showing cause, if any, why said probate judge should not be bound hereby. Subject to further order of this Court upon receipt and consideration of any such answer, each such probate judge is temporarily enjoined from issuing any marriage license contrary to Alabama law as explained in this opinion.

As to Judge Davis's request to be dismissed on the ground that he is subject to a potentially conflicting federal court order, he is directed to advise this Court, by letter brief, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2015, as to whether he is bound by any existing federal court order regarding the issuance of any marriage license other than the four marriage licenses he was ordered to issue in Strawser.

PETITION GRANTED; WRIT ISSUED.

Stuart, Bolin, Parker, Murdock, Wise, and Bryan, JJ.,concur.

Main, J., concurs in part and concurs in the result. Shaw, J., dissents.

ENDS

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