Ala. Bill Would Let Judges Opt Out Of Performing Gay Marriages

Alabama lawmakers introduced a bill last week that would let judges and ministers opt out of performing any marriages.

Republican state Rep. Jim Hill introduced the legislation in response to a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay marriages.

Hill told The Guardian that after the ruling, he received numerous phone calls from probate judges “asking: ‘Are we now going to be required to perform [same-sex marriages]?'”

After the ruling, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told the state’s probate judges not to issue licenses to gay couples, setting off a lot of confusion in the state. And on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court ordered probate judges to stop issuing gay marriage licenses, defying the federal court ruling.

“Hopefully it will clear up any confusion,” Hill told The Guardian about his bill.

The legislation states that “those authorized to solemnize marriages” don’t have to “solemnize the marriage of any person.” The bill also establishes “the rights of those associated with religious organizations, institutions, and societies as related to marriage recognition and solemnization.”

Opponents of the bill worry that the legislation would let judges recuse themselves from performing marriages for gay couples, as well any other couples they claim go against their religious convictions.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: