Federal judge smacks down all Alabama laws forbidding same-sex marriage
On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the state of Alabama’s enforcement of its laws banning same-sex marriage.
According to AL.com, Mobile-based U.S. District Judge Callie V. Granade handed down the ruling in the case of Strawser v. Alabama, in which a same-sex couple sued the state over its refusal to recognize their marriage.
Granade’s decision was a permanent injunction on Alabama probate judges or other officials “who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama that prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage” in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s Scott McCrory issued a statement about the ruling, saying, “This judgment makes permanent what most people have known all along – Alabama state officials must abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. State officials may not refuse to recognize the legal right of a same-sex couple to marry. This is the law of the land despite Roy Moore’s or the Alabama Supreme Court’s personal beliefs to the contrary.”
Alabama’s Republicans and conservative judges — including now-suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore — have resisted the Supreme Court ruling, but as Judge Granade noted, they must give way before the law.
“Given the actions by Alabama state and local officials during this litigation, both before and after the Supreme Court decided Obergefell (the national same-sex marriage case), it cannot be said with assurance that there is no reasonable expectation that Alabama’s unconstitutional marriage laws will not again be enforced,” she wrote.
Granade ruled in 2015 that the state’s laws against same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, but Moore and the state supreme court defied the ruling.
“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 demonstrate the need for a permanent injunction in this case,” she continued. “It is clear that the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell does not provide certainty that the alleged violations will not recur.”
Moore was suspended from the bench on ethics charges earlier this year. He has tangled with federal authorities over his attempts to inject his evangelical Christian beliefs into the workings of state government, including a giant Ten Commandments display that was installed in the state’s supreme court building, which higher courts found to be a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.