MONTGOMERY: Probate judges in North Alabama have stated that should the Supreme court legalize gay marriages there will need to be a review period. After this they will take the relevant action. There are a number of courses of action open to the High Court. The options are that the state has a right to decide and unilaterally all states must issue gay marriage certificates. A lot rests on the particular wording. A course of action can only be determined once the order is made available. The review period will bring more clarity according to one probate judge.

In January Alabama’s gay marriage ban was ruled illegal by U.S. District Judge Callie Granade. Over 3 weeks gay couples got married till Supreme Court directed probate judges to stop. May saw her rule that gay marriages should be be conducted in all Alabama counties. However until Supreme Court ruled put her decision on hold.

Nothing states within Alabama Code that probate judges should issue marriage certificates to anyone. For a period this some judges ceased issuing altogether. Some refused marriage but issued licenses. One probate judge earlier this year advised County Commission that he was prohibited to perform same sex marriages due to his faith. The law also prohibited him from deciding who he should and should not marry. He stated the ruling could run to 200 pages or just a couple but he again would review and take the appropriate action.

Franklin County court saw Probate Judge Moore state he would cease issuing licenses if same sex ceremonies were to be allowed. This Spring saw 2 pieces of marriage related legislation in Alabama State House. The Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act gave judges the capacity to refuse marriage to certain couples. That bill dies at Senate despite passing House. A further bill would have removed the business of marriage license completely. This bill failed in the House but got approved in Senate. Limestone County Probate Judge Woodroof reiterated the need for review but hoped it would all be very direct in order that action could be taken appropriately and quickly.

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