Washington County Probate Judge Nick
Williams has asked the Alabama Supreme Court to protect him and other
officials who object to issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian
couples based on their religious beliefs.
Williams filed his request for
a protective order on Wednesday.
Williams' petition notes the plight of
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who served a five-day jail sentence for
refusing to comply with a judge's ruling ordering her to issue
marriage licenses to all qualified couples. Davis has said that
issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples would violate
“The jailing of Kentucky clerk
Kimberly B. Davis put at immediate risk the liberty interest of all
faithful and religiously sincere public officials in Alabama whose
office has responsibility for making decisions as to whether to give
sanction and honor to homosexual relationships to include the
issuance of a license to engage in sodomy,” the petition states.
Attorney Jack B. Hinton, who is
representing Williams, told AL.com
that the Supreme Court's ruling striking down gay marriage bans
nationwide “effectively criminalizes” judges for their religious
Randall Marshall, legal director for
the ACLU of Alabama, called Williams' filing “the dying gasp of a
“Needless to say, from our
perspective, this is the dying gasp of a probate judge,” he told
the paper. “If public officials don't want to do their jobs, then
they don't need to be public officials.”
Williams is among the more than half
dozen probate judges who stopped issuing marriage licenses to all
couples following the Supreme Court's decision.
his petition, Williams called the Supreme Court's ruling “utter