So the probate judges in Alabama have decided that a Federal Judge ruling does apply to them after all, and they will start issuing marriage licenses in February:
The professional association of Alabama’s probate judges said Wednesday it now is satisfied that a federal court order striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban applies to them.
The Alabama Probate Judges Association had taken the position that the order Friday by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade in Mobile applied only to the two women who brought the suit and the Attorney General’s Office, which was the named defendant.
Lawyers for plaintiffs Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, as well as same-sex marriage advocates and legal experts, roundly criticized that position. Earlier Wednesday, Granade released a “clarification” making clear that her ruling applied broadly statewide.
The Probate Judges Association now is satisfied, as well.
So what made them change their minds, you ask? Money, seems to be the answer:
Adam Romero, senior counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy scholar of law at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, said the clarification makes clear the decision wasn’t specific to plaintiffs in the case.
“If and when that decision goes into effect, any Alabama official that enforces the state’s bans on same-sex marriage are in danger of not only being hauled into Judge Grande’s court and added to the pending lawsuit, but also getting hit with the costs of doing so,” Romero said.