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Roy Moore opposes bill ending marriage licenses

Roy Moore speaks to reporters and supporters
Roy Moore is surrounded by supporters and media after leaving the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday October 27, 2016. (Mickey Welsh/Pool Photo)

Tuesday, the Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law and former Senate candidate Roy Moore released a statement strongly opposing the pending bill in the Alabama Legislature, SB69, that would eliminate marriage licenses.

“The purpose of this bill, as its sponsor, Senator Greg Albritton, has stated, is to have the state comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling mandating gay marriage without violating the consciences of those probate judges who have ceased issuing all marriage licenses,” the Foundation stated.

The Foundation continued, “Far from protecting the religious principles of those probate judges who do not want to participate in endorsing the Supreme Court’s desecration of the institution of holy matrimony, SB69 requires them to record all marriages, even those contrary to the Alabama Constitution which defines marriage as “a unique relationship between a man and a woman.” Article I, § 36.03. Under current law that makes issuance of marriage licenses discretionary, probate judges can opt out and not sully their consciences. The synopsis of SB69, by contrast, states that probate judges “would have no authority to reject any recording of a marriage.””

The Foundation argues that, “Rather than being able to opt out from participation in gay marriage, as current law allows, probate judges under SB69 would be required to record such fake marriages and forward the data to the Office of Vital Statistics, thus personally being compelled to participate in the adulteration of a sacred institution.”

Foundation President Emeritus, Roy Moore, said, “SB69 is founded on a craven capitulation to an illegitimate Supreme Court decision that defiles the institution of marriage. All legislators of conscience should reject it. Alabama Supreme Court decisions, both before and after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, require Alabama probate judges to respect the state Constitution’s definition of marriage as ‘a unique relationship between a man and a woman.’ Those injunctions are still in effect. See attached Certificate of Judgment of March 4, 2016 and supporting orders in the API case.”

Foundation President Kayla Moore said, “SB69’s elimination of the requirement of solemnization of a marriage, a further attack on the dignity of the institution, violates Article I, § 36.03 of the Alabama Constitution which defines marriage as “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” SB69 is unquestionably unconstitutional because it directly contradicts the incontestably valid and binding provision of the Alabama Constitution that requires solemnization.”

Most legal scholars, even those who oppose the controversial Obergefell v. Hodges, would argue that the ruling is still valid as the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority to issue the ruling.

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Failure to order the probate judges to fully comply with Obergefell v. Hodges and issue the same-sex marriage licenses resulted in a complaint to the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) by the Montgomery based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC that resulting in Judge Moore being suspended by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore later retired from the court to run for U.S. Senate where he was narrowly defeated by Doug Jones (D).

Sen. Albritton, R-Atmore, said last week that SB69, “Separates the Church and the state.”

“All the state needs to do is ensure that a marriage is legally formed,” Albritton said. “If you want to have a ceremony go to your pastor and have it in whatever form you want to do. This takes marriage out of the state purview.

SB69 has been state Senate and has a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee. It is now in position for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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