Alabama Supreme Court Affirms Natural Marriage

Mar 4, 2015

In a historic ruling, the Supreme Court of Alabama in a 7-1 decision has affirmed natural marriage and ordered Alabama’s probate judges to immediately stop issuing illegal marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The ruling represents a significant shift of momentum in the same-sex marriage agenda, and is a direct challenge to the orders of U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade, who in January purported to overturn Alabama’s marriage laws. The ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court offers the most forceful and clearly articulated rebuttal to date of the imaginative arguments for same-sex “marriage” employed by federal courts.

The ruling grants in full Liberty Counsel’s emergency mandamus petition. In the petition and in a subsequent brief, Liberty Counsel demanded on behalf of its Alabama clients – Alabama Policy Institute (“API”) and Alabama Citizens Action Program (“ALCAP”) – that Alabama’s probate judges obey Alabama’s Constitution and laws. As a result of this ruling, Alabama’s probate judges must immediately cease issuing illegal same-sex marriage licenses.

On its way to affirming natural marriage, the Alabama Supreme Court made several key observations about the historical and societal underpinnings of the marriage institution:

  • “[M]arriage, as a union between one man and one woman, is the fundamental unit of society.”
  • “[M]arriage has always been between members of the opposite sex.  The obvious reason for this immutable characteristic is nature.  Men and women complement each other biologically and socially.”
  • “[O]ne legitimate interest behind the laws (among others) is recognizing and encouraging the ties between children and their biological parents.”
  • “Government is concerned with public effects, not private wishes.  The new definition of marriage centers on the private concerns of adults, while the traditional definition focuses on the benefits to society from the special relationship that exists between a man and a woman, i.e., the effects for care of children, the control of passions, the division of wealth in society, and so on.”
  • “[I]f love was the sine qua non of marriage, then polygamy also would be constitutionally protected . . . .”
  • “[W]hat ultimately is at issue is the entire edifice of family law . . . an edifice that has existed in some form since before the United States was even a country. . . . It is no small thing to wipe away this edifice with a wave of the judicial wand.”

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