Alabama Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling breaks legal conventions

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The legacy of Wedding Week in Alabama begins to fade after an extraordinary intervention from the state's high court.

Attorney Shelley Bilbrey says, "Basically, the Alabama Supreme Court did something highly irregular."

Their 148-page ruling breaks all kinds of legal conventions. For starters, Bilbrey points out it's unusual for the court to even take a case like this directly, "In this instance, they skipped the trial court and the mid-level court and went straight to the Alabama Supreme Court."

Another sticking point in the ruling -- it points to the Alabama Policy Institute and the Alabama Citizens Action Program as two of the parties who seek relief.

In the legal sense, Bilbrey believes that's bizarre, "I had never known of a case where a public policy group could file something requesting relief on behalf of an entire population of people. This is unprecedented."

Of course, these are all procedural questions about how the state supreme court even wound up with gay marriage on their desk.

Bilbrey notes the opinion they issued on the matter defies legal precedent as well, "They are saying that the district court judge's opinion is not binding on the state court's interpretation. We are the only state in the nation that has taken this stance."

It's unclear how federal courts will respond to the ruling disregarding their wishes.

The attorney we spoke with says she expects we will remain in the current stalemate in Alabama until the United States Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage this summer.