Marengo Probate Judge Hall will not sign marriage licenses

Published 4:04 pm Friday, February 6, 2015

The state of Alabama will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses Monday after U.S. District Judge Ginny Grenade’s recent decision to strike down the gay marriage ban in Alabama.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a memorandum this week informing probate judges that Grenade’s ruling in no way requires the issuance of marriage licenses to homosexual couples, which left the decision to the probate judges themselves on whether to issue them or not.

Marengo County Probate Judge Laurie Hall issued a statement Friday on how her office will proceed.

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“As you are certainly aware, there have been significant changes regarding ‘marriage’ in the state of Alabama in the past few weeks,” she said in a written statement. “Many probate judges across the state, including myself, have been working vigorously and exhaustively to do anything and everything we can to protect the laws we have sworn to uphold, and the citizens we represent. At this point, short of legal intervention from the U.S. or State Supreme Court, Federal Judge Grenade’s ruling will take effect as of Monday, Feb. 9, making same-sex marriage legal in the state of Alabama. The Code of Alabama provides in Section 30-1-7 that performing marriage ceremonies is discretionary for the probate judge; consequently, the Marengo County Probate Office ceased the performance of any marriage ceremonies as of Feb. 1, 2015.”

Although the Probate Office will no longer perform any marriage ceremonies, the office is still required to issue marriage licenses.

“I have been advised that licenses must still be made available through the Probate Office; thus, begrudgingly, licenses will remain available through the Probate Office until and unless I am notified and advised otherwise. Marriage licenses are processed through the Vital Statistics division of the Alabama Department of Public Health, which has informed the Probate Judges Association that, despite the absence of the signature of the Probate Judge, licenses will still be accepted and processed. Based on that information, I will not be placing my signature on marriage licenses. I continue to pray for our county, state and country, and the leaders and citizens thereof, and ask for your prayers, as well.”