Suits filed in Alabama opposing an earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which called same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, were struck down Friday by the Alabama Supreme Court.
The Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) and the Alabama Policy Institute, along with Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen, challenged the Supreme Court’s Obergfell v Hodges ruling, which stated that the “fundamental right” to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples via the Fourteenth Amendment, the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.
Chief Justice Roy Moore, a long-time outspoken critic of same-sex marriage, was out-voted by five other justices on the bench. Moore protested the decision and contended that, despite the lawsuits being dismissed, Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage still holds up.
Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, celebrated the decision and specifically the words of Justice Greg Shaw, who called the opinions of Moore and Justice Tom Parker “silly” and his public comments “unethical.”
“I think the state should thank Justice Shaw for his brave opinion,” Cohen said, calling Moore and Parker’s comments “bizarre and disheartening” because they “bring dishonor to the Alabama judiciary.”
“People like Justice Moore and Justice Parker should resign from the bench and perhaps offer an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, that’s their right to do” Cohen added. “But it’s shameful for them to pretend they can ignore the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Cohen added that Moore’s edict to local probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses had long been ignored across the state.
However, Joe Godfrey, Executive Director for ALCAP, decried the ruling as an assault on religious liberties.
“We certainly are concerned,” Godfrey said. “This is a religious liberty issue and I see it as an infringement on religious liberties.”
Godfrey noted that he is currently in talks with ALCAP’s lawyers on a path forward and is planning to approach lawmakers about proposing legislation which would protect Alabama judges and citizens from acting against their religious convictions.