Probate judges caught in legal back-and-forth over same sex marriage

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It appears that all 68 probate judges in Alabama have stopped issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The stop comes after the Alabama Supreme Court issued a 148 page ruling banning those judges from issuing licenses to gay couples.

“Before the order last night from our state’s Supreme Court, a majority of Alabama probate judges were on the right side of history and doing the right thing and abiding by a federal order,” said Ben Cooper with Equality Alabama. Supporters of same sex marriage say this fight hurts loving families who want the security granted to straight couples.

“It has been nothing less than confusion and chaotic for the citizens here,” said Cooper.

“That is a result from our state Supreme Court and our chief justice,” he continued. Caught in the middle are probate judges. Each interprets the law as they see it. Now, their hands are tied.

“It has been a difficult thing to deal with and we’ve tried to be consistent with what we felt like the law was,” said Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum. He says the issue surrounding marriage licenses comes down to requirements.

“If you meet the requirements of the law, you get it. So what we have to do is make sure those requirements are met. That’s the dispute right now. what are the requirements?” asked McCollum. Despite this latest move from the supreme court, same sex supporters are remaining optimistic.

“This is simply a temporary road block that we will overcome and again, clearly, this is going to happen here in this state,” said Cooper. Equality Alabama tells me they are looking at all their legal options as they get ready to fight this latest decision.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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