Alabama Probate Judges Association issues guidance on issuing same-sex marriage licenses

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Probate Judges Association called a teleconference today to discuss their guidance on same-sex marriages following a federal court ruling.

The association’s attorney, Al Agricola, says the ruling has no effect on anybody not named in the lawsuit and probate judges were not parties to the legal matter. Agricola added that nothing in the ruling would require probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

He points out that Luther Strange was the defendant in the case, and he plays no role in issuing marriage licenses.

However, while the association advises that probate judges should not issue marriage licenses on Monday, it was also noted that individual probate judges have jurisdiction over their own counties. The association only provides legal counsel.

Agricola elaborates that the association is private, and the position comes from its executive committee. It is not binding. It’s a service to members, who must make up their own mind.

Four major civil liberties unions, including the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, released a joint statement against the AL Probate Judge’s Association shortly after the teleconference mentioned above.

They argue that Agricola’s advice is wrong, saying in part, “Judge Granade’s order is immediate and applies statewide in Alabama. Absent a stay, [laws]… which promote same-sex marriage are no longer valid… Simply put, the non-binding legal opinion of the Probate Association cannot and does not preempt a Federal Order.”

These civil liberties unions encourage Probate judges to follow their constitutional obligations.

WHNT News 19 continues to work to break down the guidance issued by the Alabama Probate Judges Association and gather reaction. We will update the story here on the web and on the air at 5:30pm and 10pm.

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