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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 05
Alabama marriages set to start February 9
Southern Poverty Law Center files ethics complaint against state judge
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Alabama marriages set to start February 9
Southern Poverty Law Center files ethics complaint against state judge

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Gay and Lesbian marriages are set to begin February 9 in Alabama after the federal judge who struck down Alabama's ban on same-sex marriages said definitively that her ruling applied to the whole state.

U.S. District Judge Callie 'Ginny' Granade ruled on January 23 that the Alabama ban was unconstitutional, and on January 28 that her decision applied to all same-sex couples in every county in the state.

The professional association representing Alabama's probate judges - who are charged with issuing marriage licenses - had claimed that Granade's order only applied to the plaintiffs in the suit and to the state's Attorney General, who was the named defendant.

After Granade's January 28 clarification, however, the state probate judges said they were convinced they were bound by the federal court decision and should be ready to issue licenses to same-sex couples on February 9.

That means the final hope for opponents of same-sex marriage is that the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will agree to the state's request to extend the stay on Granade's ruling beyond February 9.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has vowed to fight marriage equality till the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center - which represented plaintiffs Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand - filed ethics charges against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Moore, who was removed from the same office in 2003 for refusing to remove a religious display from his courthouse, wrote to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley urging him to refuse to comply with federal court orders on marriage.

'As of this date, 44 federal courts have imposed by judicial fiat same-sex marriages in 21 states of the union, overturning the express will of the people in those states,' Chief Justice Roy S. Moore wrote.

Moore asked Bentley, a fellow Republican, to 'uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity.'

'Be advised,' he said, 'that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.'

Human Rights Campaign Alabama director Ashley Jackson condemned the judge's letter.

'There's something deeply ironic about a judge seeking the right to ignore another judge's ruling while crying 'judicial activism,' she said in a statement. 'The federal constitution guarantees the equal protection of the law for all Americans, and, sooner rather than later, that equality must come to Alabama's families, too.'

SPLC filed their complaint against Moore soon after Granade clarified her ruling on January 28.

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Alabama marriages set to start February 9
Southern Poverty Law Center files ethics complaint against state judge

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