Alabama officials have asked the
Supreme Court to indefinitely postpone implementation of a federal
judge's orders striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Callie “Ginny”
Granade declared the state's ban unconstitutional in two similar
cases, both of which are set to take effect on Monday, February 9.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange
turned to the Supreme Court after the Eleventh Circuit Court of
Appeals in Atlanta denied his request to set aside Granade's rulings
as the state pursues appeals.
The emergency request was filed late
Tuesday with associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the
Eleventh Circuit. Thomas is considered one of the court's most
In his request for a stay, Strange
defended the state's ban by arguing that marriage makes “less
sense” for gay couples.
“The interests supported by
opposite-sex marriage are, at the very least, rational,” he
wrote. “States are not in the marriage business 'to regulate
love.' Instead, state marriage laws link children to their
biological parents (and link these biological parents to each other)
by imposing a package of privileges and obligations – such as
presumptions of paternity – that make less sense in the context of
same-sex relationships. It is not irrational or malicious for state
laws to reflect an 'awareness of the biological reality that couples
of the same sex do not have children the same way as couples of
Strange also argued that allowing the
rulings to take effect will cause confusion and further litigation,
presumably against state officials who refuse to follow the order.
“A stay would serve the public
interest by avoiding confusion among local officials and additional
litigation in Alabama's other district courts. The law on this issue
can only be settled by a ruling from an appellate court that is
binding on all district court judges and state officials,” Strange
Without intervention by the Supreme
Court, Alabama on Monday will become the 37th state, plus
the District of Columbia, where gay and lesbian couples can marry.