When Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued his Jan.6 order that probate judge should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he put those judges in a precarious position. Either they’d be defying the Alabama Supreme Court or they’d be defying the U.S. Supreme Court.
Two federal prosecutors have issued a statement that probate judges should follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.
Several probate judges stopped issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Other stopped issuing any licenses to anyone. Probate judges in the state’s largest counties, however, have continued issuing marriage licenses to all couples, according to al.com.
Alabama law says probate judge may issue marriage licenses. That differs from laws in other states. In Kentucky, for example, the law says county clerks will issue marriage licenses.
“Judges who disregard the U.S. Supreme Court ruling could find themselves facing lawsuits and ultimately the probate offices would have to pay attorney’s fees and court costs, which can be considerable,” University of Alabama Law Professor Ron Krotoszynski, Jr. said.