WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — The United States Supreme Court has refused to stop a federal court ruling requiring Alabama state officials to recognize homosexual “marriage.”
The court announced early Monday it had declined an application by the state to stay lower court decisions striking down the state's constitutional amendment and a state law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, until it rules on the issue of whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex “marriage.”
The Supreme Court revealed in January that it will decide on the constitutionality of homosexual “marriage.” Arguments are scheduled to begin in late April, and a decision is expected before the term’s end in June.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order just hours earlier on Sunday evening directing the state's probate judges to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying a January 23 decision by a U.S. District judge redefining marriage was not binding on state courts, and that it had caused confusion in the state.
Judge Callie Granade ruled in that decision that Alabama’s laws violate homosexuals’ due process and equal protection rights according to the U.S. Constitution.
Moore had written to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley shortly after the ruling encouraging the governor to resist the federal court ruling overturning the state’s marriage protection laws.
“As you know, nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage,” Moore wrote to the governor.
“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” he said. “Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”
Bentley expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court’s decision in a statement.
“I am disappointed that a single Federal court judge disregarded the vote of the Alabama people to define marriage as between a man and woman,” he said.
At least four of the state’s 67 counties were granting marriage licenses to homosexual couples Monday morning, while others were waiting for clarification between the conflicting orders.
State Attorney General Luther Stranger, who had requested that the Supreme Court extend the stay on the federal ruling and hold off on issuing any licenses, concurred with Judge Moore in a statement that the justices' decision to allow same-sex “marriages” was likely to lead to more confusion.
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While the Supreme Court’s February 9 ruling contained no explanation from the justices that supported the lower court’s rulings, two justices dissented from the action.
The court’s “ordinary practice” is to allow such laws take effect while the Supreme Court hears arguments and make ready a ruling on the laws’ constitutionality, Justice Thomas wrote.
“Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States. Over the past few months, the Court has repeatedly denied stays of lower court judgments enjoining the enforcement of state laws on questionable constitutional grounds,” Justice Thomas wrote, along with Justice Scalia. “It has similarly declined to grant certiorari to review such judgments without any regard for the people who approved those laws in popular referendums or elected the representatives who voted for them. In this case, the Court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months.”
Gov. Bentley said he agreed with the court’s dissenting opinion that the ruling represents a cavalier attitude toward the states.
Justices Thomas and Scalia also inferred in their dissent that the court’s rejection of the stay of the federal court ruling striking down marriage protection in Alabama may be a sign that the Supreme Court justices will declare in the pending cases that homosexual “marriage” is constitutional nationwide.