Probate Office puts temporary hold on marriage licenses
Brent Maze and Clif Knight
Morgan County Probate Judge Greg Cain has put a hold on issuing all marriage licenses until several conflicting orders can be resolved.
Cain said he was ordered by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Sunday at 8:18 p.m. to not issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples as it violates the state’s Sanctity of Marriage Amendment. However, U.S. District Judge Callie V. “Ginny” Granade that amendment, along with a 14-day stay allowing the state to appeal the ruling.
The stay ran out Monday, as neither the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nor the U.S. Supreme Court has granted any further injunctions.
The contradictions of the rulings have caused Cain and other probate judges, including Limestone County Probate Judge Charles Woodruff, to suspend issuing all marriage licenses until the issue can be resolved.
“Right now, we have two conflicting orders – one from the Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. District Court – on the same-sex marriage issue,” Cain said. “Until we can get that resolved, we just decided not to issue any marriage licenses at this time.”
Cain said they were ready to proceed Monday with offering opposite-sex and same-sex marriage licenses.
“We had everything in place, but when the order came down last night, I just felt like we needed to wait until everything was clear,” Cain said. “I hope that we will be able to start issuing them quickly. This is usually a busy week for our office with the Valentine’s Day coming Saturday.”
Some county probate judges also ended the practice of marriage ceremonies last week due to the ruling. However, Cain said his office stopped performing civil marriage ceremonies in June 2014 for other reasons.
“A heavier court docket and increased document filing workload made it impractical,” Cain said.