A federal judge on Wednesday entered a
final order and judgment requiring Alabama officials to abide by the
Supreme Court's June 2015 marriage equality ruling.
U.S. District Judge Callie V. Granade's
ruling orders state officials to issue marriage licenses to gay and
The Alabama Supreme Court in March of
last year issued a ruling in favor of the state ban. Despite the
Supreme Court's ruling, the Alabama high court has refused to vacate
or withdraw its decision.
Pointing to the state court's actions,
Granade said in her order that a permanent injunction was necessary.
“The failure of the Alabama Supreme
Court to set aside its earlier mandamus order and its willingness to
uphold that order in the face of the United States Supreme Court's
ruling in Obergefell demonstrates the need for a permanent
injunction in this case. … [A]s long as the Sanctity of Marriage
Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain on the
books, there continues to be a live controversy with respect to which
the Court can give meaningful relief,” she wrote.
Alabama had argued that the lawsuit
should be dismissed because it was currently complying with the
Supreme Court's order.
“It cannot be said with assurance
that there is no reasonable expectation that Alabama's
unconstitutional marriage laws will not again be enforced,” Granade
Plaintiffs in the case are represented
by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center
(SPLC), Americans United for Separation of Church and State and
Birmingham lawyer Heather Fann.
“Today’s ruling establishes clearly
and finally that all state officials in Alabama must respect same-sex
couples’ freedom to marry,” said NCLR legal director Shannon P.
Minter. “It is unfortunate that some state officials, including
members of the state judiciary, continued to question their
obligations even after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality
decision last year. Today’s ruling should put any confusion to