Saturday, February 14, 2015

Alabama taxpayers continue to pony up as Liberty Counsel makes more mischief

The anti-gay hate group, Liberty Counsel (on behalf of two Christian organizations), has petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court to issue a writ prohibiting Alabama's probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Late Friday afternoon, by a vote of 6 to 2, the court ordered the probate judges who are issuing same sex marriage licenses to respond to Liberty Counsel’s petition.

In other words, to thwart equality they are deliberately creating confusion. Together, the court and LC are making a mess that someone else will have to clean up, likely at the expense of taxpayers. And for what? That is the question that never gets answered. “Because in Massachusetts … [fill in the blank with the evil consequences]” never makes it into the right wing press releases.

It is worth noting that Alabama's probate judges are, for the most part, not lawyers. According to media reports a majority of the judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This means that licenses are being issued or denied by those judges who support or oppose same-sex marriage respectively — probably based on their religious beliefs. Needless to say, the religious beliefs of judges should be irrelevant to the duties which they must perform.

The Alabama Supreme Court had an opportunity to do the right thing which would have been to yield to the judicial supremacy of the federal court but … well, this is Alabama and this is Roy Moore's court. Staver is quoted as saying “I am pleased that the Alabama Supreme Court has ordered an expedited briefing and is proceeding on a fast track.” It would not surprise me at all if Mat Staver (head of Liberty Counsel) and Roy Moore were acting in concert to derail equality. In fact I would be surprised if they were not, regardless of the impropriety. I note that Moore did not join in the opinion to issue the orders to the probate judges to respond to Liberty's petition.

“Our” lawyers are not sitting idly by. I just received an email from ACLU-Alabama and might get more information by the end of the day. I will update this post as necessary.

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