A federal judge on Thursday ordered an Alabama official to comply with her earlier ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex matrimony by beginning to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade’s order sought to clarify that Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis should follow her directive, and not a contravening order from Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore that has led to many state judges to refrain from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
UPDATE: From the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Today’s order followed a hearing in which four same-sex couples, who were unable to obtain marriage licenses in Mobile on Monday when marriage equality went into effect in the state, asked Judge Granade to instruct Judge Davis to begin issuing marriage licenses. The order requires Judge Davis to begin issuing licenses immediately.
The Alabama couples are James Strawser and John Humphrey, who previously obtained a ruling from Judge Granade declaring that Alabama’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional, Meredith Miller and Anna Lisa Carmichael, Robert Povilat and Milton Persinger, and Kristy Simmons and Marshay Safford. The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the ACLU of Alabama, and Birmingham attorney Heather Fann, and the ACLU of Alabama.
Said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter: “Today’s ruling by Judge Granade provides clear direction to Judge Davis and other probate judges and will help ensure that all same-sex couples in Alabama, regardless of whether they live, have the freedom to marry.”
Added Randall Marshall, Legal Director of the ACLU of Alabama: “Judge Granade’s ruling confirms that the U.S. Constitution requires Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples, gay and straight. We hope state and local officials will recognize that their first obligation is to comply with our federal Constitution and will move quickly to follow the court’s ruling so that all couples in Alabama will be able to share in the dignity and protection that marriage provides.”