8 Alabama Counties Still Refusing to Issue Any Marriage Licenses Because Gay Marriage

Eight counties in Alabama are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couple so that probate judges in those counties will not have to issue licenses to gay couples.

AL.com reports:

On Tuesday, AL.com spoke with representatives of 14 of 15 county probate courts that gay marriage advocates identified as having indicated in recent months that they would not grant marriage licenses. Calls seeking comment from Geneva County Probate Judge Greg Hamic’s office were not immediately returned.

Six of the judges said Tuesday that they are now issuing the licenses, but employees of Autauga, Choctaw, Clarke, Cleburne, Covington, Elmore, Pike and Washington counties confirmed that their probate judges are not currently granting any marriage licenses.

Judges can legally refuse to perform any marriage ceremony, and representatives of the eight probate judges who refuse to issue licenses – as well as those of Bibb, Chambers, Clay, Coosa, Crenshaw, and Marengo counties, which are currently issuing licenses – said Tuesday they were declining to preside over any marriage ceremonies. Federal law makes clear that individuals cannot be forced to perform wedding ceremonies, an issue that mainly arises due to a presiding person’s religious beliefs.

None of the 8 counties have stopped providing licenses just to gay couples. However, there remains little doubt as to the motivation behind the decision. “There is no doubt that the counties that are not issuing licenses to anybody have taken that approach because of the same sex-marriage decision,” said Randall C. Marshall, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama.

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Source: 8 Alabama Counties Still Refusing to Issue Any Marriage Licenses Because Gay Marriage


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