Via Huntsville’s NBC affiliate:
Late Sunday night, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order in which he instructs state probate judges to neither issue nor recognize a marriage license for same-sex couples. The order states, “Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975.” It continues to say that if any probate judge fails to follow the state constitution, “it would be the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley… to ensure the execution of the law.” WAFF has a crew working to uncover more details and is in contact with experts to determine what impact this order may have for couples preparing to wed Monday morning.
Moore has been quiet for the last few days and I suspected that he would try something like this at the very last minute just to totally fuck with the couples planning to wed in the morning. Now we wait to see if the judges comply.
UPDATE: Activists react.
Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Associated Press she doubted probate judges would defy a federal judge on Moore’s behalf. She accused the chief justice of grandstanding. Randall Marshall, attorney for ACLU of Alabama, called the order “a last minute gasp.” “I am not aware of anything that gives him the authority to tell probate judges what to do … If he had that authority he would have claimed it much earlier than now,” Marshall said. Probate judges across the state have reacted differently to the ruling – some intend to cease the issuance of marriage licenses altogether, others to refuse licenses to same-sex couples and others to issue license to any couple.
UPDATE II: From the Human Rights Campaign.
Late this evening, in clear violation of all codes of legal ethics, boundaries of jurisdiction, and moral decency, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore issued an order commanding all probate judges in the state to refuse to issue marriage licenses to committed and loving same-sex couples tomorrow. “This is a pathetic, last-ditch attempt at judicial fiat by an Alabama Supreme Court justice—a man who should respect the rule of law rather than advance his personal beliefs,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Absent further action by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal ruling striking down Alabama’s marriage ban ought to be fully enforced, and couples that have been waiting decades to access equal marriage under the law should not have to wait a single day longer. All probate judges should issue licenses tomorrow morning, and Chief Justice Roy Moore ought to be sanctioned.”
UPDATE III: Freep this Alabama poll.