Alabama's Antigay Supreme Court Begrudgingly OK's Same-Sex Marriage
The Alabama Supreme Court has shut down a case arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage does not apply in Alabama, reports AL.com, a website for several newspapers in the state.
Alabama's antigay chief justice, Roy Moore, had previously told his state's probate judges, who are tasked with issuing marriage licenses, to deny licenses to same-sex couples because he wasn't convinced the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision applies to Alabama. Moore even wrote a much-derided opinion in which he stated the state's ban on same-sex marriage is still intact. But this week, Moore finally ended the interference.
"Today this Court by order dismisses all pending motions and petitions and issues the certificate of judgment in this case," Moore wrote in a decision issued today, throwing out current challenges to marriage equality in Alabama, while also making clear his displeasure with Obergefell, calling it a "lawless act" and same-sex relationships "immoral." He also said he believes Alabama's marriage ban remains legitimate, insinuated that relationships between same-sex couples are less than real, quoted a song from 1974, and stated that Supreme Court rulings are not the final word in legal matters.
"Based upon arguments of 'love,' 'commitment,' and 'equal dignity' for same-sex couples, five lawyers, as Chief Justice Roberts so aptly describes the Obergefell majority, have declared a new social policy for the entire country," Moore writes in his opinion. "In reality, the Obergefell majority presumes to amend the United States Constitution to create a right stated nowhere therein. That is a lawless act... The (SCOTUS) opinion appeals more to emotion than law, reminding one of the 1974 song 'Feelings' by Morris Albert, which begins: "Feelings, nothing more than feelings... Obergefell is but the latest example of the Court's creation of constitutional rights out of thin air in service of the immorality of the sexual revolution."
Other justices also blasted Obergefell, with Justice Tom Parker calling the Supreme Court ruling the "latest example of judicial despotism."
Despite the Alabama Supreme Court's stance, Alabama has long been ordered to follow the rulings of federal courts, even as a result of marriage cases leading up to June's landmark decision. After the Supreme Court's ruling in June, Moore caused havoc in Alabama when he insisted probate judges weren't bound by federal precedent. Some counties started issuing licenses anyway, while others refused. As a result, he was once again challenged in 2015 on ethics charges.
Moore, who claimed last summer that marriage equality would lead to the destruction of the nation, was once before removed from his position as chief justice for refusing to remove a religious monument from a courthouse.