Alabama Goes Rogue On Marriage

mnw 3-9-15The Alabama Supreme Court just went rogue on marriage, and that has George Takei pretty annoyed. Hundreds of Republicans just asked the U.S. Supreme Court to enact full federal equality. And the National Organization for Marriage’s losing streak continues with yet another slapdown in court.

Well, it seemed like marriage was safe in Alabama, but the state Supreme Court still had a one weird trick up its sleeve. Even though a federal court ordered marriage to begin, the Alabama Supreme Court has now ordered it to stop. The state justices claim that their interpretation of federal law trumps a federal judge’s.

Can they do that? Not really, no. This breaks all kinds of rules about jurisdiction and authority. The legal term for this is … well, there isn’t one, because it really isn’t a thing that’s done. It’s basically the state giving the finger to the country. Which is why George Takei has flipped it around by encouraging folks to show the state their wedding finger.

What happens next? Lawyers rack up a ton of hours filing motions, and and maybe marriage can start back up again sometime soon. Or we might just have to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves things once and for all.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, last week was the deadline for amicus briefs in the marriage cases. Almost 400 companies submitted briefs in favor of marriage equality, including Coke, Delta, Apple, Nike, Amazon, GE, and many many more. Also of note: a pro-equality brief from over 300 Republicans. That includes several current and past senators, governors, mayors, White House officials, and even a Koch brother. This is more than double the number of Republicans who signed a similar brief for the DOMA case in 2013.

The Supreme Court won’t rule on marriage until sometime after oral argument on April 28. But they did just deliver some more bad news to the National Organization for Marriage. For years, NOM has been fighting to keep their donor identities secret, and last week the Supreme Court denied their request for a hearing, which puts an end to the case once and for all. It is weird that NOM stalled for this long, since the donor names have been available through the state since 2008. Essentially NOM just spent seven years and a ton of money on a fight that they lost a long time ago.

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