Post-Obergefell, states withdraw marriage licenses, ensure conscience protection
June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Friday's Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage in the United States has caused a tumult in county clerks' offices. While some states have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples throughout, others have counties still waiting for directives from their respective attorneys general regarding how to proceed.
Louisiana governor and 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal (R) announced that clerks in the Pelican State must wait 25 days before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This is the period of time the state has to ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its own ruling on the matter. However, Jindal admitted on Meet the Press that Louisiana will likely have to comply with the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling before long, and the governor's directive is binding only in New Orleans, which falls under his personal jurisdiction.
In a statement, Jindal said, “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.”
“This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty,” he said.
Two Alabama counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether. The probate judges in Pike and Geneva Counties cited Alabama law, which states that "[m]arriage licenses may [as opposed to shall] be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties." Judges in other Alabama counties may do likewise.
Mississippi may follow suit as well, with Gov. Phil Bryant (R) having declared his intention "to do all that he can to protect and defend the religious freedoms of Mississippi."
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) echoed Bryant, calling the Supreme Court ruling an "overreach of the federal government," whose "powers should no longer be limited to those enumerated in our Constitution."
In Texas, prior to the Obergefell ruling, state attorney general Ken Paxton (R) had requested that county clerks hold off on granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending state approval. However, several clerks post-Obergefell began processing licenses immediately, especially in large urban counties.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) condemned the Obergefell decision, blasting the Supreme Court for "abandon[ing] its role as an impartial judicial arbiter" and "becom[ing] a nine-member legislature." Abbott promised to protect the religious liberty of Texas residents: "No Texan is required by the Supreme Court's decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage."
The Texas Senate's GOP caucus, calling Obergefell "an affront to the Texas Constitution," pledged to support Abbott and his attorney general "in any legal action [they] may take to defend the religious liberty of Texans in the wake of this troubling decision."
Harris County in Texas originally balked at issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples specifically because the forms read "man" and "woman," but the county's attorney's office directed clerks to issue the forms anyway, saying they could be corrected later. Eventually, revised forms reading "applicant 1" and "applicant 2" were provided.