Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Once Moore, with feeling.

Are you gay, engaged and do you live in Alabama? Well then I'm afraid I have some bad news: the wedding's off. Again. In a move sure to hold up in court, the Alabama Supreme Court has just ordered judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Waaah? Conservative feet-dragging and obstructionism on the issue of marriage equality? In the South?
"Sorry about all that gay stuff."
Same-sex couples who've already been married immediately turned in their marriage certificates and issued an heartfelt apology to the many Alabamans whose lives were ruined by the State's brief flirtation with marriage equality. LGBT advocacy organizations statewide also agreed to disband and 'quit stirring up so much trouble.' The long, hard fight for gay marriage is finally over, and the people of Alabama can sleep easy knowing that Republican Jesus is smiling on their fair state. what we would be talking about if this were some terrible parallel universe where the South won the Civil War, but since it's not, let's take a moment to roll our eyes at the predictably homophobic horseshit that was today's court order.
Oh please. The Confederates would never have gone to
the moon, unless of course, they were chasing a fugitive slave.
To put it another, more awesome way, Moore is
the Starscream to the Federal Court's Megatron.
If you recall, back in January a federal court threw out Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage and the state was set to start marrying gay couples. But then State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore decided to threaten civil servants with termination if they complied with the ruling which was not only a tremendously dick move, but also not really a thing he can do since federal rulings trump state rulings. The move caused confusion statewide as some gay couples could get licenses while others could not depending on whether or not local probate offices were afraid of Roy Moore.

Yesterday's order from the Alabama Supreme Court to stop issuing licenses is more clear than Moore's ham-fisted threats, but still seems to miss the point as to which court is the higher court. Spoiler alert: it's not Alabama's, but let's look at what it had to say anyway:

Are the judges riding one of these to
 work every morning? No? Then shut up.
"As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for 'marriage' between only one man and one woman..."

-The Alabama Supreme Court,
before complaining about all the swears on TV

Precedent is great and all, but it's not 1815 anymore and Alabama has cars, the internet and Starbucks. Could they maybe think about getting caught up on marriage equality? Anyway, what else you got?

"...state courts may interpret the United States Constitution independently from, or even contrary to, federal courts..."

-The Alabama Supr-wait, what? No they can't...
Law and ambiguity: two great tastes that taste great together!
"Welcome to Delaware, now
please drop your pants."
-The Honorable Gropey McPerv
Whoa, are they trying to say that states can interpret the constitution to mean whatever they want it to? Wouldn't that lead to, you know, legal chaos? I mean, one state's interpretation of 'no unreasonable search' could be another's 'full body-cavity search on entry.' Look, I'm not unsympathetic towards Alabama and its imaginary judicial sovereignty (well, I'm a little unsympathetic), but this is exactly why we have federal courts: so that when gerrymandering stacks a state's supreme court so full of Republicans that Leviticus suddenly starts caring legal weight, there's a higher authority people can appeal to.

Of course this'll probably shake out, and the State will start issuing licenses to same-sex couples eventually, but holy shit. Do you think that once, just once a ban on gay marriage could get thrown out and stay thrown out without all the legal back and forth? Planning a wedding has got to be hard enough without throwing the appeals process, upper vs. lower court pissing contests and Roy Moore into the mix.
You are cordially invited to Alan and Steve's wedding...uh, unless the State Supreme Court appeals
the Federal Court ruling that overturned the ban, in which case it's off. But if the appeal is denied then
we're back on, except if the Chief Justice orders probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex
couples, then it's off again, unless the Supreme court-you know what? Fuck this, we're moving to New York.

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