An anti-gay Alabama judge is asking for an order to protect him from being jailed like Kim Davis because he doesn't want to issue a "license to commit sodomy," Alabama Real-Time News reports.
Washington County Probate Judge Nick Williams asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to defy the U.S. Supreme Court and issue an order declaring its March ruling banning same-sex marriages was still in effect. The Alabama ban, like all others across the nation, was voided when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, in Obergefell v. Hodges.
"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," attorney Jack Hinton wrote in the court petition.
Hinton added the U.S. Supreme Court ruling "effectively criminalizes" judges who are opposed to same-sex marriage.
"Does he have to check his religious freedom at the door?" Hinton asked AL.com.
Randall Marshall, legal director for the ACLU of Alabama, said the threat of facing sanctions for refusing to issue the marriage licenses isn't as imminent as Williams and his attorney make it sound. He pointed out that there are no state probate judges currently being sued, like Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was. So there is no immediate threat of any judge being punished for refusing to issue the licenses.
"If public officials don't want to do their jobs then they don't need to be public officials," Marshall said, adding that public officials may hold their own beliefs, but they are bound to carry out the Constitution and "the U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution."
Davis was sued by same-sex and straight couples after she stopped her office from providing marriage licenses in response to the Obergefell ruling. She lost the case and her appeals, yet continued to defy court orders to issue the licenses. A federal judge slapped her with contempt of court sanctions and she was jailed for five days. Davis went back to work on Monday with no incident, and her office is now complying with the Supreme Court's ruling, according to reports.
Williams is one of about a half dozen probate judges in Alabama who have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.
According to AL.com, his petition also states:
Clerk Davis would not have been placed in that position had a bar majority of five justices on the United States Supreme Court not chose to substitute their own will as superior to the written United States Constitution, the will of the people as expressed in more than 36 state constitutions, and the common wisdom of our forebears in more than 220 years of American history, and millennia of our Anglo-Western heritage.
Watch Williams talk about his position on same-sex marriage, as posted to YouTube, here: