A federal judge on Wednesday confirmed
that her ruling directing all Alabama probate judges to issue
marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples is now in effect.
In May, U.S. District Judge Callie
Granade ruled that gay couples have the right to marry in all 67
Alabama counties. She put her ruling on hold until the Supreme Court
ruled in a case challenging restrictive marriage bans in Ohio,
Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The high court ruled Friday in the
case. Ruling for the plaintiffs, the court said that gay couples
have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states.
Despite the ruling, some Alabama
probate judges, citing a contradictory Alabama Supreme Court
decision, have refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
“In the preliminary injunction order
the Court stated 'that because the issues raised by this case are
subject to an imminent decision by the United States Supreme Court in
Obergefell v. Hodges and related cases, the above preliminary
injunction is STAYED until the Supreme Court issues its ruling,'”
said in her order.
“The Untied States Supreme Court
issued its ruling on June 26, 2015. … Accordingly, by the language
set forth in the order, the preliminary injunction is now in effect
and binding on all members of the Defendant Class.”
Judge Granade struck down Alabama's ban
in two rulings issued in January. Saying that the order was limited
to plaintiffs in the case, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered probate
judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Plaintiffs
asked Granade to expand defendants in the case to include all of the
state's probate judges, which she granted.
Granade recognized the Alabama Supreme
Court's contradictory order in her May ruling.
“It is true that if this Court grants
the preliminary injunction the probate judges will be faced with
complying with either Alabama's marriage laws that prohibit same-sex
marriage as they have been directed by the Alabama Supreme Court or
with complying with the United States Constitution as directed by
this Court. However, the choice should be simple. Under the
Supremacy Clause, the laws of the United States are 'the supreme Law
of the Land,'” she
Some counties have stopped issuing
marriage licenses rather than serve gay couples. Wednesday's order
does not affect these counties.
(Brief provided by Equality