What Happens if States Refuse to Comply With Marriage Ruling?

As expected, Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court is pledging to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, as are many local judges and county clerks in that state and around the country. Some are just going to stop issuing all marriage licenses, others are just refusing to comply.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has long fought against same-sex marriage, said states can fight the ruling, as they have decisions allowing slavery or abortion, and predicted that it would spark a national backlash from Christian conservatives.

“They’ve just disregarded everything that precedent holds, and they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family,” Moore said.

In rural Alabama, Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said he would stop issuing all marriage licenses to avoid having to give them to gay couples. Allen said Alabama law gives judges the option of granting licenses, and “I have chosen not to perform that function.”

Governors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also railed against the ruling. And clerks in some of the affected states refused to issue licenses, citing a three-week grace period allowed by the Supreme Court or forms now out of date that specify “bride” and “groom.”…

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a memo saying the government should not pressure people to violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” He later clarified that he does not condone discrimination or authorize state agencies to deny benefits to same-sex couples.

Jindal also issued a statement vowing to never stop fighting for “religious liberty.”

“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he wrote.

The Supreme Court allows for a 25-day delay while it considers a rehearing. The Louisiana Clerks Association advised clerks to wait until then before issuing licenses.

So what happens if a state or local officials just flat out refuse to issue licenses to gay couples? What if the Supreme Court of Alabama issues another order to county probate judges not to comply with the ruling, which would not be at all surprising? I doubt it would be as dramatic as the days of George Wallace, when federal marshals had to escort black children to school because state and local officials were literally blocking the door. But here’s what could happen if state or local officials decide to be really defiant.

First, the district courts that heard the original cases in each state will now issue a final order/injunction to enforce the Supreme Court’s edict in the case. If those within that court’s jurisdiction were to defy that order, the district court could find them to be in contempt and start assessing fines or even having them arrested. That would be a rather extraordinary thing to happen, but it’s one way they might deal with it at some point.

Before that happens, however, there are other non-judicial things that could happen. The governor of the state might issue an executive order requiring compliance, which would then start a battle between the executive and judicial branches at the state level. Or President Obama could even issue an executive order requiring federal personnel to take over the administration of local county clerk’s offices until such time as the officials agree to comply with the law. Again, that would be a truly extraordinary step.

All of this hinges on the question of just how defiant state and local officials decide to be. The only state where I really expect this to happen, at least statewide, is Alabama. Roy Moore not only thinks he’s doing God’s will, he thinks he is God, and I would not be at all surprised if he were to issue an order telling county clerks and probate judges not to comply. That would put those people in one hell of a bind, to say the least. Get the popcorn ready.

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  • http://healthvsmedicine.blogspot.com cervantes

    Naah, Obama would issue no such order. That would just make the wingnuts feel justified in their victim complex and get people screaming about the 10th Amendment. This will play out at the state level, with possible involvement by the federal judiciary, but the worst that will happen is that in some Alabama counties, you’ll have to drive a few miles to get a marriage license until the whole thing blows over in a few months or a year.

  • RickR

    And in the midst of all those childish tantrums from the whiny, entitled champions of “personal responsibility” who expect the world to bend to their whims or they’ll hold their breath and stamp their little feet, one county clerk decides to deal with her religious objection as an adult, making all the other blowhards look worse in comparison-

    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2015/06/arkansas-clerk-will-resign-over-moral-objection-to-issuing-samesex-marriage-licenses/

    Mind you, I still think she’s on the wrong side of the issue, but if that’s what you’ve decided to do with your life, this is how you should go about it.

    This is what maturity looks like.

  • John Pieret

    Fortunately, cooler heads seem to be gaining the upper hand in most states:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/after-same-sex-marriage-ruling-southern-states-fall-in-line.html?_r=0

  • D. C. Sessions

    I’m totally supporting the courts which are refusing to issue any licences at all.

    In large part because every one of them is up for re-election pretty soon, and drama makes for votes until it splashes on the voters.

  • peterh

    “… they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family,” Moore said.”

    Total fail. The foundation of our country is the rule of law.

  • Alverant

    What recourse would a state employee have if they are fired after complying with the law?

    Also in the age of cell phone videos and the internet, could someone set up a way for a couple to record their vows then send the video along with a faxed copy of the paperwork to a willing officer of the court to validate the marriage?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    …They’ve just disregarded everything that precedent holds, and they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family,” Moore said.

    I’d wondered what happened to my family.

     

    The governor of the state might issue an executive order requiring compliance, which would then start a battle between the executive and judicial branches at the state level.

    Also, the plot of The Phantom Menace. True story.

  • raven

    They’ve just disregarded everything that precedent holds, and they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family,”

    Moore fails on so many levels. Another Cthulhu dammed case of Fundie xian Induced Cognitive Impairment.

    1. Gay marriage creates more families not fewer. To figure this out, you need first grade counting skills.

    2. Which families have been destroyed by gay marriage?

    3. The divorce rate is 50%. 40% of children born in the USA are to single mothers. Ask Bristol Palin how that works or her brother Track. Saint Reagan was divorced once, Newt Gingrich is on his third sacred marriage.

    The 1950’s are over. The ship of their marraige fantasy sank long ago.

  • theDukedog7 .

    Obama’s ignoring immigration law (prosecutorial discretion), so state officials can ignore this court ruling, which isn’t even a law.

    State officials can simply say that they won’t prosecute clerks who decline to certify gay “marriages”, just like Obama said that he won’t prosecute illegals.

  • Sastra

    I think I see a compromise position down the road. Local judges and county clerks will indeed perform all their duties in regard to same-sex marriage, but at various junctures they will be permitted to press their lips together firmly while simultaneously giving an almost imperceptible shake of their head and a practically inaudible sigh. Nothing that will make them look stupid on YouTube, though — you know it’s all being filmed, right, because it’s a ceremony?

    Just enough to make your quiet little stand for Jesus because as always God is watching you to see what you do.

  • llewelly

    Roy Moore has always been a George Wallace fanboy. I seem to recall he even argued against integration and interracial marriage as recently as 2000 or so? I’m sure he dreams of federal marshals frog marching him off to prison. If that happens, after he gets out, he may find a picture of it and put it on billboards and run for re-election.

    The only questions are, is he really as brave as he thinks, and how hard will the feds try to find another way?

    But I really doubt the majority of clerks will be that resistant. I haven’t looked, but I suspect some are already issuing licenses, and others will start when it becomes clear the federal government won’t take no for an answer.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Are there four words that say “I’m an asshole” more than “sincerely held religious beliefs”?

  • raven

    I’m sure he dreams of federal marshals frog marching him off to prison.

    Naw.

    1. Xians love their martyrs.

    2. And the best martyrs are….someone else.

    I’m sure Moore is hoping someone clueless will actually take him seriously. He doesn’t want to go to jail, he wants someone else to do it.

  • Alverant

    Wrong as usual Dog. The ruling was how the 14th amendment to the Constitution applied to homosexual marriages. Gay marriages is as equal as straight marriages. The ruling isn’t just law, it’s CONSTITUTIONAL law which supersedes religious opinions.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    theDukedog7 “…just like Obama said that he won’t prosecute illegals.”

    Worse, this also lets gay Mexicans so-called “marry” gay Americans!

  • theDukedog7 .

    Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist, who were progressive Democrats.

  • llewelly

    theDukedog7:

    Obama’s ignoring immigration law …

    While we are bringing up irrelevant things, with the goal of another long off topic thread, you are ignoring the Pope’s encyclical on fossil fuel driven global warming. Obviously, there’s some of it I don’t agree with; I continue to be convinced that the Pope’s stances on birth control are damaging, sometimes lethal to women and children, and his stances on lgbt people are horrible. But aside from a few poor analogy choices, he’s mostly right about global warming.

    So what, Michael Egnor, as a faithful Catholic, is your position?

    (a) Accept that you were wrong about fossil fuel driven global warming. You were conned by people who make money off of fossil fuels. Don’t feel bad – everyone can get conned.

    (b) Declare the Pope an anti-Pope. Make bad analogies to the beast with seven heads and ten horns.

    (c) Continue your cowardly silence.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @14:

    There is no constitutional right to gay marriage. To assert so is a lie. There is no debate–there are simply people who tell the truth and people who don’t. Judges who lie need to be removed from the bench.

    This matter is independant of whether SSM is a good idea–which is a point Roberts made. SSM is an issue to be worked out democratically, and ironically you were winning.

    Now you have broken the law. Millions of Americans are ignited by this. We will fight for our rights to democratic government and to the constitution.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @17:

    Laudato Si is a beautiful encyclical. It’s a profound reflection of capitalism and our obligations to care for nature. I agree with almost all of it.

    The Pope is wrong about global warming, which is an obvious hoax (just like eugenics, malthusianism, pesticide hysteria, global cooling, alar on apples, etc). It’s regrettable that the Holy Father misunderstands global warming, but it’s a small point, and the larger points of Laudato Si are right on target and beautifully expressed.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    … they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family …

    It’s so sad really. I spent yesterday down at the bus station watching all those families being herded onto buses — mom and dad each on a different bus on their way to their respective marital reassignment camps, the children on a third bus to god-knows where. Seeing them all crying and crying like that as they said their last goodbyes made a part of me wish all hadn’t blindly rushed in to support this gay marriage thing. But what’s done is done.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Laudato Si is a beautiful encyclical. It’s a profound reflection of capitalism and our obligations to care for nature. I agree with almost all of it.

    Dude, you show no sign of having even read any of it. PZ discusses it at greater length, and from what he’s said, it sounds like pure bullshit; and if you really agree with it, knowingly or not, that just proves you’re a dimwitted authoritarian bigot.

  • http://Www.metalmischief.com YOB – Ye Olde Blacksmith (Social Justice Support Person)

    The foundation of our country is the rule of law Money and Rebellion.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family…

    Please point us to even ONE family who have been harmed in any way by this ruling.

  • RickR

    that just proves you’re a dimwitted authoritarian bigot.

    Was there ever any doubt?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Back to the original topic after the usual pause to clean up dog dookie:

    Some while back a judge in, IIRC, New Jersey assessed a sanction for noncompliant contempt of something like $100 the first week, doubling the second, doubling again the third, etc. I also seem to recall that the sanction was upheld on appeal.

    Seems like a reasonable solution: $10 for the first couple turned away, $20 for the second, and so on. By the time it gets to the thousandth couple, it’s going to be quite a budget line item. Especially since there’s no reason that the same couples can’t come back the following day. Whether the sanctions are applied to the clerks, the judges, the Court, or the State is an interesting question but in the end it’s going to be the same.

  • dingojack

    So Lil Dookie

    a) What new laws have been created, specifically?

    b) How have these alleged new laws affected you (or anyone else) negatively, precisely?

    I’m sure the American people will create a ground swell of protest almost as big as the hugely successful Second American Revolution (remember that?)

    Dingo

  • cptdoom

    There is no constitutional right to gay marriage.

    There’s also no Constitutional right to free speech on the internet. Time to file for the arrest of our dogtroll for abject stupidity.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Was there any major resistance to Loving v. Virginia? I’ve been trying to research this, but keep coming up with nothing. I do know that, when it was handed down, the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed interracial marriage, and pretty much every brief field in support of marriage bans cited God and religion as reasons why those bans must not be overturned.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Raging Bee “Please point us to even ONE family who have been harmed in any way by this ruling.”

    Mine. After so-called “gay” so-called “marriage” reassignment by the Department of Homoland Security, my former wife shattered her pelvis during scissoring class.

  • Artor

    Wow! I am really loving this Blog Comment Killfile add-on! I don’t have to see a single one of Egnorance’s stupid comments. All I’m seeing is replies to him and a note that he’s left a blocked comment. This is pretty slick guys! I have it on Firefox, but I think they have a version for Chrome, and maybe IE, if anyone is still using that. Don’t let the asshole derail the thread, since you know that’s all he wants to do. He’s immune to rational argument, so don’t bother. This is the best add-on since Adblocker!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Artor “Wow! I am really loving this Blog Comment Killfile add-on!”

    Me too. I blocked everyone. Including Ed Brayton. Finally, an internet of me!

  • RickR

    Egnor is so useless I wish Ed would ban his troll ass as PZ did, but I guess Ed never reads the comments so doesn’t know Eggie is here stinking up the joint with his drivel.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    There is no constitutional right to gay marriage.

    There’s nothing in the Constitution about an Air Force either.

  • theguy

    ShitDog continues to demonstrate his ignorance.

    “Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist”

    According to Wikipedia:

    “Moore was also a notable opponent of a proposed amendment to the Alabama constitution in 2004. Known as Amendment 2, the proposed legislation would have removed wording from the state constitution that referred to poll taxes and required separate schools for “white and colored children,” a practice already outlawed due to civil rights-era legislation. Moore and other opponents of the measure argued that the amendment’s wording would have allowed federal judges to force the state to fund public school improvements with increased taxes.”

    Moore has also advocated executing gay people, so if that’s your idea of a “conservative Republican” then I can say without hesitation that you are both evil. The southern Dixiecrats were conservative Democrats and have now become conservative Republicans.

    The fact that you are infatuated with yourself and your bigotry does not make you right.

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #33

    Schmucknor the cocksucker already declared this comment to be too “silly” for him to respond to a week or two ago in response to a comment I made. Translation: He doesn’t have a response.

  • mikey

    How about we all ignore Dorkdog the troll until such time as he posts a point that hasn’t been refuted soundly and repeatedly?

  • sinned34

    Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist, who were progressive Democrats.

    Okay, with this comment, Dukedog has given up the game. He’s just making outlandish comments to get a rise out of people here. He’s essentially Modusoperandi, only without the humour and intelligence. Also, Modus looks better when parading his bum around in those pants.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    sinned34, “pants”?

  • savoy47

    How about a kiosk or computer station at the courthouse that would issue a marriage license? Each individual that wants to get a marriage license can present any ID or other information needed to identify themselves to a clerk and get a receipt. And then a couple would go to an automated computer and enter each of their specifics into that computer along with the receipt. Then the computer issues the marriage license.

    No one would need to compromise their faith just so they can do their job.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    savoy47, what about the computer’s Religious Liberty?

  • colnago80

    Re RickR @ #32

    Download the add on extension blog comment killfile, which is available for both Firefox and Chrome. This will allow you to block the comments of assholes like Schmucknor. What is left is the following message:

    Comment by theDukedog7 . blocked. [unhush]​[show comment]

  • colnago80

    By the way, I also recommend the add on extension Ghostery, available for both Firefox and Chrome. This program will block Internet trackers, which it detects trying to spy on open web pages, among other things, which I have found greatly slow down browsers.

  • D. C. Sessions

    savoy47, what about the computer’s Religious Liberty?

    Only if it’s a closely-held computer. At least for now, anyway.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    D. C. Sessions this one time I got arrested for closely holding a computer. Steve Jobs personally banned me from his stores. Granted, the nudity didn’t help. Mine didn’t, either.

  • whheydt

    Re: tDD7 @ #18…

    SCOUS is, pretty much by definition, the final arbiter of what the Constitution means. Therefore, until there is a countervailing decision from SCOTUS, any given *majority* decision is definitive.

    If you don’t like what SCOTUS says, you’ve got two basic choices. One is to get another case before it on the same subject. The other is to pass and ratify a Constitutional amendment. Good luck figuring out how to get standing on the first choice to even begin such a case, and on the second–fat chance.

  • peterh

    “There is no constitutional right to gay marriage.”

    There’s no Constitutional right to marriage of any sort.

  • dingojack

    MO – “Steve Jobs personally banned me from his stores. Granted, the nudity didn’t help. Mine didn’t, either.”

    Was Steve Jobs’ junk as tiny as rumoured?

    Dingo

  • D. C. Sessions

    Was Steve Jobs’ junk as tiny as rumoured?

    Oh, they’re tiny all right — it’s a design requirement. As to whether they’re junk or not, well, I’ve never used them.

  • zenlike

    So Dukie, are you actually going to address my question which laws these SCOTUS judges have supposedly broken? Or are you going to just ignore it like the good catlick lying piece of shit that you are?

  • llewelly

    theDukedog7:

    Laudato Si is a beautiful encyclical. It’s a profound reflection of capitalism and our obligations to care for nature. I agree with almost all of it.

    Thank you. I am glad you agree with the obligation to care for nature. However – it is very unfortunate you continue to think fossil fuel driven global warming is “an obvious hoax” .

  • democracyworker

    Gregory in Seattle: There was lots of resistance to Loving v. Virginia following the decision

    “When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Loving v. Virginia decision striking down bans on interracial marriage on June 12, 1967, percent of the 13 Southern states that still outlawed what they called “miscegenation”: 100″

    http://www.southernstudies.org/2013/03/institute-index-the-souths-long-resistance-to-marriage-equality-updated.html

    Many statutes related to miscegenation stayed on the books and were enforced. There is no tyranny greater than that exercised locally.

    “In 1967, 17 Southern states (all the former slave states plus Oklahoma) still enforced laws prohibiting marriage between whites and non-whites. Maryland repealed its law in response to the start of the proceedings at the Supreme Court. After the ruling of the Supreme Court, the remaining laws were no longer in effect. Nonetheless, it took South Carolina until 1998 and Alabama until 2000 to officially amend their states’ constitutions to remove language prohibiting miscegenation. In the respective referendums, 62% of voters in South Carolina and 59% of voters in Alabama voted to remove these laws.[27]”

    “In 2009, Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Robert, Louisiana, refused to officiate a civil wedding for an interracial couple. A nearby justice of the peace, on Bardwell’s referral, officiated the wedding; the interracial couple sued Keith Bardwell and his wife Beth Bardwell in federal court.[28] After facing wide criticism for his actions, including from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Bardwell resigned on November 3, 2009.[29] See 2009 Louisiana interracial marriage incident.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-miscegenation_laws_in_the_United_States#Loving_v._Virginia

    and continues today:

    Opposition to Interracial Marriage Lingers Among Evangelicals …

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ gleanings/ 2011…Proxy Highlight

    Which is why people who believe in ‘Equality for all and that means ALL’ and progress must never keep silent.

  • some bastard on the internet

    tDD7 #16

    Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist,

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    who were progressive Democrats.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • sabrekgb

    @16 thedukeDog7

    Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist, who were progressive Democrats.

    Why are you so hung up on (past or present) political party labels? Why don’t you just address the positions? To say that someone cant be something because a completely separate label they have is different from someone else who had the same position…is logically facile, to put it very mildly.

    Demagoguery is lame. Quit being lame.

  • sabrekgb

    an obvious hoax (just like eugenics

    How the fuck can eugenics be a hoax? What does this even mean…?

  • Trebuchet

    What Egnor and his fellow idjits consistently miss, is that the Supreme Court, per the Constitution, is the ultimate arbiter of what the Constitution means. If the Supreme Court says gay marriage is protected by the Constitution, it is. But I guess you don’t have to understand the Constitution to go to Medical School or work at http://medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu/.

  • sezme

    @theDukedog7:16

    Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist, who were progressive Democrats.

    Hey, dog, the 1950s called. They miss you and want you to come back.

  • Nick Gotts

    Moore is a conservative Republican, so he is the antithesis of a segregationist, who were progressive Democrats. – michael Egnor, slanderous liar, egregious hypocrite, blatant racist, Malthusian and master of false equivalences@16

    Anyone wanting the details of how Democratic and Republican parties switched with regard to racism should take a look here. It’s a fascinating story; and one which of course Egnor simply pretends does not exist, as he does the overwhelming evidence for evolution, anthropogenic global warming, and any other facts that don’t fit his invincibly ignorant, venemous bigotry. The switch occupied some 40 years, from Roosevelt’s ban on segregation in defence industries in 1941, to the 1980s, when Reagan’s dog-whistle rhetoric brought the majority of whites in the south over to the Republicans.