Minister Fined For Performing Same-Sex Wedding

We’ve heard the Christian right hysterically claim that if the Supreme Court allows same-sex marriage nationwide, pastors will be forced to perform them. That’s utterly ludicrous, of course. But here’s a minister who was arrested after trying to perform a perfectly legal same-sex wedding in Alabama.

The Alabama judicial system is engaged in a months-long campaign of resistance to the Constitution, refusing to comply with a federal court order holding that anti-gay marriage discrimination is unconstitutional. It brought the heel of the law down, however, upon a member of the clergy who sought to extend the Constitution’s promise of equal protection of the law to same-sex couples.

In February, the Rev. Anne Susan DiPrizio, a Unitarian minister offered to marry a lesbian couple at the Autauga County Probate Office after a state probate judge refused to do so. Though the couple had received a marriage license, Probate Judge Al Booth halted compliance with the federal court’s marriage equality order the day before. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, sheriff’s deputies were called and DiPrizio was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after she refused to leave.

Last week, DiPrizio pled guilty. She received a 30 day suspended sentence, 6 months of probation and a $250 fine.

So she wasn’t arrested directly for performing the wedding, but for refusing to leave when told she couldn’t. But Alabama was under a federal court order requiring same-sex marriage licenses to be granted at the time and this couple had a valid license. This only happened because the county probate judge decided he could overrule a federal court order and refuse to do so.

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  • otrame

    Good for Ms. DiPrizio. And nothing pleases like the sight of the religious right stepping on their own dicks.

  • annaelizabeth

    I think we need Federal troops to enforce the laws in Alabama.

  • cptdoom

    From what I understand about Alabama law, it had been routine – up until that day – for ministers to be allowed to perform weddings at the courthouse.

  • John Pieret

    To be fair to the assholes in Alabama, this probate judge was not, technically, bound by the Federal court order at that point and the probate judges were being whipsawed by Roy Moore, who ordered them not to issue licenses to or marry same sex couples.

    Of course, DiPrizio didn’t have to perform the wedding in the probate office. She could have done it anywhere, signed the marriage certificate form and mailed it to the clerk’s office as it is usually done and it would be as valid a marriage as if it was done in the probate office.

    Still, it was a pissy thing for the probate judge to do.

  • Hoosier X

    I wonder why dukedog isn’t showing up to comment on this one?

  • whheydt

    Reflecting back on the 1960s, I find the least surprising thing about this incident is that it was a Unitarian minister involved.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    I wonder why dukedog isn’t showing up to comment on this one?

    He’s being forced by the government to bake gay wedding cakes as punishment for resisting gay marriage. He’ll be back just as soon as he gets paroled.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    I am shocked, shocked, to find assholes running Alabama.

  • Ibis3, These verbal jackboots were made for walking

    I wonder why she decided to plead guilty? Kinda surprised a civil rights lawyer didn’t take the case pro bono.

  • whheydt

    Re: ibis3 @ #9…

    She may be going for a “Walden Pond” effect. Basically daring the Alabama judiciary to throw her in jail, where she can point out that she was jailed for doing the *right* thing…and trying to embarrass a lot of other clergy for *not* being in jail.

    It appears not to have worked. Reports are that the jail sentence was suspended. She may still be able to work the intent, though.

    Alternatively, perhaps an appeal is planned, but that is–so far as I know (Mr. Pieret to clarify?)–not something that works.

  • roggg

    It’s all about the religious freedom, dontcha know?