Friday, January 8, 2016

In Alabama a reminder that bigotry can be expensive

Don Davis
Don Davis
Mobile County Commissioners expressed concerns Thursday about the county's mounting legal bills to defend Probate Judge Don Davis' refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Those legal bills currently exceed $300,000 and they continue to climb. Mr. Davis is defying the explicit order of a federal district court and he is denying constitutional rights to gay citizens and taxpayers according to the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Before you sympathize with Mr. Davis (okay, you probably don't) part of his job is to officiate civil marriages. Nevertheless, these people insist that we seek their approval. In reality, they have gone unhinged over the fact that their approval is neither sought nor required. “Just complete the paperwork, please.” Although not required of a probate judge, Davis has been a member of the bar since 2001. He has been in his current position since 2000. Perhaps he is due for a change.

According to Commissioner Mercerier Ludgood:
Is there a point we need to make a reasonableness decision to continue to pay the fees? If the highest court in the land has made a decision, at what point does it become unreasonable for us to continue to pay the costs of fighting that?
Why should the county pay anything to defend someone who is breaking federal law? Some gay couples are going to Florida and Mississippi to get married. Others are going to different counties within Alabama. I have a simple proposal:

If it is practical to do so, celebrate your marriage wherever it is licensed.  Why reward Mobile County with the tax revenues?

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