Alabama Republicans earlier this year attempted to protect judges, clergy, and others who declined involvement with certain civil ceremonies on religious grounds. Voters in the state had passed a constitutional amendment (81 percent) in 2006 that affirmed marriage as the union between one man and one woman, but as expected, the court struck it down.
Before the “marriage” order was to take effect, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore issued a memo ordering judges to enforce state law on the issue.
Justice Moore has reiterated his order to uphold state law until the issue is resolved. The Washington Times reported that despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s “law of the land” decision that declared homosexual “marriage” a right, he issued this order (PDF) (emphasis in original):
“Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”
From the Washington Times:
The Human Rights Campaign quickly condemned the order, saying it was “shameful” and an “obstructionist” tactic in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 Obergefell ruling that marriage is the union of two people.
Phillip Jauregui, president of Judicial Action Group, which seeks judicial reform, disagreed, saying Chief Justice Moore’s order is “both courageous and very well-reasoned.”
“We need more federal and state officers like Chief Justice Moore who understand that the job of the federal judiciary is not to legislate from the bench, but rather to simply decide disputes between parties consistent with the text of the Constitution,” Mr. Jauregui said on the website of Eagle Forum of Alabama.
He added that opinions like Obergefell that seek to “set policy for all of America” are outside the constitutional power of the judiciary.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver called the high court’s decision “lawless and without legal or historical support.”