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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Enjoins Probate Judges from Issuing Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

As you may know (Howard has had some excellent coverage), we’re in the midst of a real-life fed-courts hypo here in Alabama as litigation continues over the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. There was another development this evening, when the Alabama Supreme Court issued a 134-page per curiam opinion enjoining Alabama probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling was prompted by a petition for a writ of mandamus that was filed earlier this month by two groups opposing same-sex marriage, purporting to be “relators” for the State of Alabama. The petition named four probate judges who had been issuing same-sex marriage licenses as respondents, and designated all other Alabama probate judges as “Judge Does ##1-63.” One of those Doe judges, Judge Enslen of Elmore County, sought to have the Alabama ban enforced and was redesignated as an additional relator-petitioner.

This evening’s order acknowledges that one Alabama probate judge—Judge Davis of Mobile County—is the subject of a federal injunction issued by Judge Callie Granade, who back in January had declared Alabama’s ban unconstitutional.

Here’s the full text of the order that appears at the end of today’s Alabama Supreme Court opinion:

The named respondents are ordered to discontinue the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Further, and pursuant to relator Judge Enslen's request that this Court, "by any and all lawful means available to it," ensure compliance with Alabama law with respect to the issuance of marriage licenses, each of the probate judges in this State other than the named respondents and Judge Davis are joined as respondents in the place of the "Judge Does" identified in the petition. Within five business days following the issuance of this order, each such probate judge may file an answer responding to the relator's petition for the writ of mandamus and showing cause, if any, why said probate judge should not be bound hereby. Subject to further order of this Court upon receipt and consideration of any such answer, each such probate judge is temporarily enjoined from issuing any marriage license contrary to Alabama law as explained in this opinion. As to Judge Davis's request to be dismissed on the ground that he is subject to a potentially conflicting federal court order, he is directed to advise this Court, by letter brief, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2015, as to whether he is bound by any existing federal court order regarding the issuance of any marriage license other than the four marriage licenses he was ordered to issue in Strawser.

If you want to get up to speed on what’s been going on, you can find copies of all the important orders, filings, and other documents at the Civil Procedure & Federal Courts Blog

Posted by Adam Steinman on March 3, 2015 at 10:20 PM in Civil Procedure, Constitutional thoughts, Current Affairs, Judicial Process | Permalink

Comments

http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/R/Relator.aspx

Marriage cannot be both existing in relationship as husband and wife, and not existing in relationship as husband and wife, simultaneously.

See contravention.

Posted by: N.D. | Mar 4, 2015 6:25:28 PM

Huh, learned something today. Thanks for that Howard.

Posted by: No, breh | Mar 4, 2015 12:40:32 AM

Someone suing on behalf of the government.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Mar 3, 2015 11:55:55 PM

what a clown show down there.

semi-related: anyone know what a "relator" is?

Posted by: No, breh | Mar 3, 2015 11:17:37 PM

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