As the US celebrates the Supreme Court's historic ruling legalising same-sex marriage
across all 50 states, the country's homophones are struggling to come to terms with the news.
Now, some judges in the sourthern state of Alabama - where anti-sodomy laws were only repealed in 2003 by another Supreme Court ruling in 2003 - have decided that the best course of action is to not let ANYONE get married at all.
The Dothan Eagle
reports that at least four Alabama counties are refusing to issue any couples - gay or straight - with marriage licences in protest at the ruling, citing a part of the State code which apparently mean they're not obliged to hand them out. Some used a similar tack after equal marriage was briefly legalised in the state following a court ruling back in February, only for it to be reversed shortly after.
Geneva County Probate Judge Fred Hamic said: "I’m waiting for guidance from the state according to section 30-1-9 of the Alabama Code of 1975, which says a probate judge may issue a marriage license.
“It doesn’t say a probate judge has to issue a marriage license. I’m waiting on that. I will not be doing any more ceremonies. I’m going to stop as of today issuing marriage licenses.”
In Pike County, Probate Judge Wes Allen cited a similar excuse, adding: “I am saddened that the United States Supreme Court ruled as they did but this ruling does not invalidate Alabama Code Section 30-1-9, which states ‘Marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties.’
The word ‘may’ provides probate judges with the option of whether or not to engage in the practice of issuing marriage licenses and I have chosen not to perform that function.
“My office discontinued issuing marriage licenses in February and I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business. The policy of my office regarding marriage is no different today than it was yesterday.”
Local LGBT activist Chris Munger Countryman admitted that despite the Supreme Court's ruling, the battle to see equal marriage actually implemented was not necessarily over.
“On one side of the coin I’m excited, the community’s excited, we’re all extremely happy that it went through, as well as relieved we finally don’t have to worry about it,” said Countryman, one of the founders of LGBT rights group Equality for the Wiregrass.
“A lot of the backlash, though, that we’re getting from the community… we’re distraught at the same time, because we’re seeing a lot of resentment and negativity coming back from the community because of the decision.”
He added: “It’s plain as black and white – you have a federal court that made a decision that affects the entire United States.
“The governor came out with a press release that says he will enforce the law even if he disagrees with the decision. I don’t see where they have any choice in the matter. They have to abide by the law.”
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