Well, you know we’ve crossed over when Alabama starts with the gay marriage thing. An order from a federal judge allowing gay marriage was to take effect this morning.
But what’s that? It’s Chief Judge Roy Moore (a state, not federal, judge) to the rescue. If you don’t remember, Judge Moore is often known as the “Ten Commandments Judge.” When Moore, a devout Christian who often relies on Biblical scripture in his rulings, began his judicial career as an Alabama circuit court judge in the 1990s, he placed a Ten Commandments tablet he had carved himself behind his courtroom bench and began instituting prayer before jury selection.
Years later, Moore resurrected the Ten Commandments debate when he had a 5,200-lb. granite Ten Commandments monument commissioned and placed inside the Alabama State Judicial Building. Two lawsuits were filed, and by August 2003, a federal judge ordered the monument removed. Again, Moore refused, forcing his fellow justices to remove it instead and sparking thousands of protesters to rally in support of Moore outside the state judicial building. But they weren’t able to save his job. Later that year, a state judicial panel removed Moore from his post as chief justice.
And now, here he is again:
In a dramatic show of defiance toward the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court on Sunday night ordered the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday, the day same-sex marriages were expected to begin here.
“Effective immediately, no probate judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with the Alabama Constitution or state law, the chief justice wrote in his order.
The order, coming just hours before the January decisions of United States District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade were scheduled to take effect, was almost certainly going to thrust this state into legal turmoil. It was not immediately clear how the state’s 68 probate judges, who, like Chief Justice Moore, are popularly elected, would respond to the order.
Gay couples got married in Alabama on Monday despite a last-minute push from the state’s chief justice to stop them.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a federal court order from January requiring the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. In Birmingham, cheers and applause went up at the probate court as licenses were issued.
“We have large crowds generally on Valentine’s Day here,” Judge Alan King of Jefferson County Probate Court told NBC News by phone. “This is by far the largest crowd that I’ve seen. It’s a very happy occasion.”
Moore is not willing to give up the fight:
Moore, in a telephone interview with NBC News, insisted on Monday that the federal courts had gone too far, and had no power to order state probate judges to do anything.
“A lot of states in this union have caved to such unlawful authority, and this is not one,” he said. “This is Alabama. We don’t give up the recognition that law has bounds.”
“Once you start redefining marriage, that’s the ultimate power,” he added. “Would it overturn the laws of incest? Bigamy? Polygamy? How far do they go?”
The thing is, Judge, the federal court governing your state has addressed this “redefining marriage” argument and how bogus it is. MANY courts have. You lost. You are a loser. Get over it.
Moore, by the way, has no jurisdiction. He’s not the judge of any case involving same-sex marriage. Even as the Chief Judge of Alabama state courts, he simply cannot intervene in contravention of a federal court ruling.
Alabama has done this before, by the way….