For nearly six months now, same-sex marriage has, at least theoretically, shared the same legal footing with opposite-sex marriage throughout the United States. All too often, however, individuals acting in violation of the law stand as barriers to LGBTQ+ couples trying to exercise their right to marry. This blog post takes a quick look at what has been going on since the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
South Carolina Legislators
Here at home, FoxCarolina.com reports that two South Carolina legislators filed a bill in December, 2015, that would ban same-sex marriage in the state and shield government officials who do not want to recognize or officiate same-sex unions. The bill has been referred to a judiciary committee. In light of Obergefell, such a law would be unconstitutional, but whether it is ever enacted or not, it reflects ongoing hostility to same-sex couples.
Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk, Kim Davis, made a name for herself in September 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, in defiance of the law. After a brief stint in jail for contempt of court, Davis was released under the judge’s order not to interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses by the deputy clerks in her office. Thereafter, deputy clerks in Davis’s office have continued to issue marriage licenses, in compliance with the court order.
A USAToday.com article notes that officials in Oregon, Texas, Alabama and North Carolina have also refused to issue licenses. It is certain that these are not the only states with this problem. The DailyCaller.com reported in November that the clerk for Elbert County, Colorado, while not refusing to issue licenses, had posted a sign above his desk displaying a biblical quote that says, “each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” The advocacy organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the county to remove the sign.
The Alabama Supreme Court
As reported at ABAJournal.com, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, issued an administrative order in January, 2016, requiring the state’s probate court judges to enforce Alabama’s ban on gay marriage and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore maintains that because the state’s Supreme Court upheld the ban months before the Obergefell decision, that ruling is the state’s controlling law until that court issues a new order, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. In fact, according to the ABA Journal, a number of Alabama’s probate justices are ignoring Moore’s order and continuing to issue licenses to same-sex couples, while others are refusing to, and some are not issuing licenses at all. Moore’s order is in contravention of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and continues to create unnecessary confusion for same-sex couples in Alabama.
Consult a Greenville Family Lawyer
If you and your partner have experienced difficulty in procuring a marriage license, Greenville family lawyer Robert Clark is an advocate you and your family can trust. Attorney Clark has the experience and compassion necessary to represent same-sex couples and families in any family law matter. Contact Greenville Family Law today for a consultation.