BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The SPLC and Human Rights Coalition have issued statements in response to Chief Justice Roy Moore’s order threatening legal action against probate judges who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday.
The SPLC released a statement from SPLC President Richard Cohen:
“Chief Justice Roy Moore — who once before was kicked out of office for defying a federal court order — is once again provoking a confrontation with the federal courts. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama — like virtually every other court — has ruled that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. To give the state ample opportunity to prevent the ruling from going into effect, the district court has stayed its order until Monday, February 9. The Court of Appeals and, so far, the Supreme Court of the United States has seen fit not to continue the stay. But, instead of respecting these rulings, the Chief Justice has decided to create a crisis in our state but telling the probate judges to ignore the ruling of the district court and threatening them with unspecified gubernatorial action. It’s outrageous. We urge the probate judges to follow the Constitution of the United States and issue marriage licenses when their offices open in the morning. Chief Justice Moore has no authority to tell them to do otherwise.”
And the HRC statement reads:
“This is a pathetic, last-ditch attempt at judicial fiat by an Alabama Supreme Court justice—a man who should respect the rule of law rather than advance his personal beliefs,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Absent further action by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal ruling striking down Alabama’s marriage ban ought to be fully enforced, and couples that have been waiting decades to access equal marriage under the law should not have to wait a single day longer. All probate judges should issue licenses tomorrow morning, and Chief Justice Roy Moore ought to be sanctioned.”