Equality Alabama to AL Supreme Court: allow probate judges to follow the law

Today, February 13, Equality Alabama filed a "friend-of-the-court" brief with the Alabama Supreme Court urging the Court to dismiss two private organizations' Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus regarding the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Alabama. The filing comes the same day that the number of probate judges issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples has more than doubled in the state, jumping from nearly a dozen counties on Thursday morning to 50 counties Friday afternoon.

The brief is a response to the Alabama Policy Institute’s and Alabama Citizens Action Program’s previously filed emergency petition to the Alabama Supreme Court. In their petition, these two private organizations asked the Court to require probate judges in Alabama to defy a federal ruling in favor of the freedom to marry. The organizations, who purport to represent the state of Alabama, essentially urge the Court to command probate judges in the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

In today's brief, Equality Alabama makes the case that the petition should be dismissed, and that probate judges in Alabama should follow the law by continuing to issue marriage licenses to all couples. The brief argues that these two private organizations do not have the jurisdiction in the first place to represent the state of Alabama - and that they have not been harmed in any way by the probate judges' actions this week.

Read the brief here.

Ben Cooper, Board Chair of Equality Alabama, said in a statement today:

Over the past five days, we've seen hundreds of loving, committed same-sex couples legally wed right here in Alabama - and as of Friday evening, nearly three-fourths of the probate judges in the state are now issuing marriage licenses to all couples. This request before the Alabama Supreme Court is nothing but an attempt at delaying the happiness that all families deserve - a last-ditch, failing effort to stand in the way of the love we've seen in this historic week. The petition should be dismissed, and all probate judges in every corner of the state should follow the law.

The brief was filed on behalf of Equality Alabama by counsel from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU of Alabama Foundation, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.