Gavel Grab

Archive for the 'Marriage Equality' Category

Legal Attacks Launched on TX Judge’s Ordering Marriage License

A Travis County, Texas judge’s ordering  of a marriage license for a same-sex couple has come under legal attack on multiple fronts.

The license was issued last week to a couple that included one member with ovarian cancer. According to the Washington Post, District Judge David Wahlberg ordered the exception, not long after Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ruled unconstitutional a Texas ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Read more

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Texas and Iowa Face New Marriage Equality Conflicts

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is attempting to void the marriage of two women who wed on Thursday after the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order blocking same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses.

KWTX reports that the order did not invalidate the wedding but Paxton said he is looking for other ways to nullify the marriage license. The license was issued under a one-time court order for medical reasons because one of the women has cancer.

“The Texas Supreme Court has stayed two lower court rulings that declared the Texas marriage ban unconstitutional. It is appalling that our elected officials would expend so much legal fire power to stop loving couples from marrying, but this really seems like the last gasp of marriage opponents,” said Rebecca L. Robertson, the legal and policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, a proposal has been introduced to amend the Iowa constitution by defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. According to the Sioux City Journal, if adopted, it would nullify a 2009 Iowa Supreme Court’s opinion that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

The ballot initiative must be passed in two consecutive General Assemblies before it could appear on the 2017 ballot.

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Marriage Update: No Stand-Down in Alabama Yet

17011625-mmmainAlthough it’s not as chaotic as last week (see Gavel Grab), Alabama’s courthouses still are busy dealing with controversy about issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. reported in one article, “Alabama Supreme Court and federal judge could both rule on gay marriage licenses within week,” and in another, “Group says it has 28,000 petitions seeking ethics investigation of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore” (in photo).

Alabama elects its Supreme Court justices. Chief Justice Moore, who has fiercely taken issue with federal court orders to allow the issuing of marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Alabama, was elected in 2012. On Thursday, a new headline declared, “New bill would enable Roy Moore to avoid age cutoff and run for reelection in 2018.”

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More Legal Maneuvering Over Marriage Licenses in Alabama

6677229_GThere are more legal efforts to sort out a confusing situation in Alabama, where some probate judges have declined to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples although a federal court has directed one county’s probate judge to issue them (see Gavel Grab).

The Alabama Supreme Court has agreed to consider a request by the Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program to stop the issuance of these licenses by state probate judges, reported. 

Meanwhile Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told Fox News on Sunday, according to Politico, that by telling probate judges not to issue the licenses, he has not been thwarting the U.S. Supreme Court. Other coverage and commentary included the following: Washington Post, Read more

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More AL Counties Granting Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

17002214-largeFollowing a federal court’s order on Thursday (see Gavel Grab), at least 43 of Alabama’s 67 counties were granting marriage licenses for same-sex couples by Friday afternoon, Huffington Post reported. It was a reversal of trends from earlier in the week.

The state had witnessed confusion, and tension between state and federal courts, after Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore told probate judges on Sunday that an earlier marriage decision by U.S. District Judge Callie Granade did not apply to them. A day ago, Judge Granade directed a probate judge in one of the counties that had held out, Mobile, to begin issuing the licenses, according to the Associated Press. Read more

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Alabama: U.S. Judge Orders Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples

Judge Granade

Judge Granade

BULLETIN: In a ruling intended to help judges across Alabama, U.S. District Judge Granade on Thursday ordered a local probate judge to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the New York Times said. 

U.S. District Judge Callie V. S. Granade did not issue a ruling immediately on Thursday after hearing arguments in a jammed Mobile, Alabama courtroom seeking definitive answers about the legality of issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples in the state.

According to the New York Times, lawyers for four same-sex couples asked for a ruling that a probate judge named in the proceeding be required to issue challenged marriage licenses. A lawyer for the probate judge said his client wanted guidance. Probate judges in dozens, but not all, Alabama counties have declined to issue the licenses since Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore advised them on Sunday against doing so; on Monday, Judge Granade’s earlier order striking down Alabama’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples took effect.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “Judge weighs next step in Alabama marriage dispute.” There continued to be extensive controversy surrounding this week’s events in Alabama, with much of the media coverage focusing on Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

He wrote a piece for the Montgomery Advertiser headlined, “Justice Roy Moore: Federal judges are not infallible.” The Montgomery Read more

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In Alabama, Tension Continues Over Federal Court Ruling

ap696598329991-8b6c098df4702e211ddd0010b3237fef94da43e6-s800-c15More Alabama probate judges were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday, but probate judges in 44 of the state’s counties still were refusing to do so amid confusion and tension between state and federal courts (see Gavel Grab for background).

On Thursday, Judge Callie V. S. Granade of the U.S. District Court in Mobile is scheduled to hold a hearing “that could determine whether resistant local probate judges must grant licenses to gay couples,” the New York Times reported. The newspaper said Alabama’s probate judges are not required to be lawyers, and yet they are “are caught between conflicting signals from the state and federal judiciaries.” Read more

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Supreme Court Lets Challenged Marriages Proceed in Alabama

10ALABAMA-articleLargeThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to extend a stay of a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a ban on marriage for same-sex couples in Alabama. These couples began receiving marriage licenses in the state, USA Today reported.

One day earlier, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore had ordered probate judges not to issue the licenses to same-sex couples. “No probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975,” he wrote, referring to a state constitutional amendment and a statute that banned marriage for same-sex couples.

In January, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade found the Alabama ban unconstitutional, but she put her order on hold until Monday so that state officials could appeal, according to the New York Times. Judge Granade was the subject of a Washington Post op-ed headlined, “A judge Alabama can be proud of.” Reported, “Activist judge? Careful jurist? Meet the woman who made gay marriage legal in Alabama.” Read more

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Marriage Cases Put on Hold by Eleventh Circuit Court

The Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that appeals from Alabama and Florida, of lower-court decisions nullifying state bans on marriage for same-sex couples, be put on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on the hotly debated topic, SCOTUSblog reported.

The statements of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore advising probate judges they are not bound by a federal court’s ruling (see Gavel Grab) continued to draw attention. Huffington Post had an article headlined, “Alabama Lawyers Face Off Against Chief Justice In Gay Marriage Fight.” Kyle Whitmire wrote a commentary at entitled, “It’s your move, Roy Moore: Don’t like same-sex marriage in Alabama? Just try to stop it.”

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Top Alabama Judge Continues to Buck Federal Court Ruling

alabama-flag-descriptionAlabama Chief Justice Roy Moore told state probate judges on Tuesday that if a federal court ruling on marriage for same-sex couples takes effect, they will nonetheless not be required to issue marriage licenses to the couples.

Chief Justice Moore gave his opinion after a federal appeals court declined to stay the lower court ruling that struck down Alabama’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and state officials asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling (see Gavel Grab).

“Lower federal courts are without authority to impose their own interpretation of federal constitutional law upon the state courts,” Moore wrote, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “Furthermore, they have absolutely no legitimate authority to compel state courts to redefine marriage to include persons of the same sex.”

Read more

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