Over the weekend, I am sure many Americans have had numerous discussions with friends, family and strangers regarding the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, stating that states could not keep same-sex couples from marrying or refuse to recognize their unions from other states. Whether you disagree or agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, it is important to know that some states, including Alabama are defying this decision.
According to various news reports, not all counties in the following states are issuing same-sex marriage licenses:
The Alabama Supreme Court has issued an Order to probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses for 25 days during the reconsideration period of the Supreme Court’s decision. Regardless of this Order, some Alabama probate judges are continuing to issue same-sex marriage licenses due to the Order being confusing.
The Louisiana Clerk Association advised clerks to wait for three-weeks before issuing same-sex marriage licenses to allow for the reconsideration period. Again, some clerks are defying the association and issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
Some counties are refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses due to the attorney general and Governor stating they needed to study the Obergefell v. Hodges opinion further.
The State Attorney, Ken Paxton, issued a statement allowing state workers to refuse to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses if it violates the state workers religious beliefs. Specifically, he states that workers “may claim that the government cannot force them to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections”. Some county clerks in Texas started issuing same-sex marriage licenses within minutes after the ruling.
The Attorney General, Jim Hood, stated that same-sex marriage “is not effective immediately in Mississippi” due to a stay that was issued on same-sex marriage licenses by a district judge. Until that stay is lifted or an order is issued by the 5th Circuit the state will not issue same-sex marriage licenses.
On how these states will handle issuing same-sex marriage licenses in the future, quoting the words of Paul Harvey, I guess we will need to stay tuned for the “Rest of the Story”.
Mary Pool is a shareholder of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. She has represented thousands of clients over her more than 11 years working in the bankruptcy field. Read her full bio here.