Some delay implementation, while others tell justices of the peace they don’t have to issue licenses
The State of Alabama has decided not to issue any more marriage licenses, while the State of Texas has told court clerks they may refuse marriage license applications from same-sex couples.
Reuters reported that judges from Alabama’s Houston, Geneva and Pike counties put on hold the issuance of all marriage licenses, citing a provision in the Alabama State Code.
Section 30-1-9 of the Alabama Code states that "marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties."
The judges in these three counties believe that the word "may" in this provision gives them the option whether or not to issue marriage.
"I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business," said Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen, while Houston County Probate Judge Patrick Davenport said he will withhold all marriage licenses until he fully understand the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and how it relates to the Alabama State Code.
He maintained that he has the authority not to issue marriage licenses.
"Currently Houston County is operating under 30-1-9, which authorizes the discretionary non-issuance of marriage licenses, leaving that discretion to the probate judge to issue or not issue," he said.
Geneva County Probate Judge Fred Hamic took a similar view. "It doesn’t say a probate judge has to issue a marriage license. I’m waiting on that. I will not be doing anymore ceremonies. I’m going to stop as of today issuing marriage licenses," Hamic said.
Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who earlier this year told the state’s probate judges to not cooperate with a circuit court’s ruling permitting same-sex "marriages" on Friday called the Obergefell decision "even worse" than the Court’s 19th-century decision to uphold racial segregation.
"I believe it’s worse because it affects our entire system of morality and family values," Moore told CNN.
"There is no such thing as same-sex marriage in the constitution. The words are not there, we’ve never had it in our history," Moore said. "Five judges on the Supreme Court, or justices, have presumed to find a fundamental right which has no basis in the history or logic or tradition of our country."
Moore added: "I think the law of the land is plain. It’s the United States Constitution. Not an opinion of the Supreme Court which contradicts that law."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Sunday condemned the high court’s decision, calling it a “lawless decision by an activist court.” Paxton told state officials that they could refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples for religious reasons.
And, according to Time, Mississippi state attorney general Jim Hood said the state is waiting for the local federal court to order county clerks to begin issuing same-sex "marriage" licenses. Another official, Mississippi judiciary chairman Andy Gipson, suggested that the state should consider not issuing marriage licenses altogether as a result of the ruling.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who recently declared his candidacy in the 2016 presidential race, said his state has "no choice" but to comply with the Obergefell ruing.
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