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Federal Judge Blinks on Marriage – Alabama Supreme Court Ruling Stands

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Montgomery, AL – A week after the Alabama Court issued its ruling informing all Probate Judges that they must comply and cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the federal judge who purported to overturn Alabama’s marriage laws in January has turned down the opportunity to challenge the statewide ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court. Federal Judge Callie Granade’s new order recognizes that her prior ruling only required Alabama Probate Judge Don Davis to issue marriage licenses to four same-sex couples who were plaintiffs in the federal case. The Alabama Supreme Court’s statewide ruling now prohibits all Alabama probate judges, including Judge Davis, from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Judge Davis had requested a stay of Judge Granade’s prior ruling because of the statewide Alabama Supreme Court order. The plaintiffs in the federal case, although they had already received the licenses they sought, urged Judge Granade to order Judge Davis to disregard the Alabama Supreme Court and issue marriage licenses to all same-sex couples who may ask. Judge Granade denied the stay requested by Judge Davis, but also declined to order him to disregard the Alabama Supreme Court.

“We are pleased that the Alabama Supreme Court’s order is being respected and followed throughout the State of Alabama,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, which filed the suit leading to the statewide ruling. “The federal court has no authority to force the Alabama Probate Judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and that lack of authority has been admitted by the federal court. The law in Alabama is clear. Marriage is only between one man and one woman. Other states should follow the lead of Alabama,” Staver concluded.

Liberty Counsel represents Alabama Policy Institute (“API”) and Alabama Citizens Action Program (“ALCAP”) in the Alabama Supreme Court case.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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