DENYING REALITY

Some Southern Officials Are Already Dragging Their Feet On Marriage Equality

mississippi_thWhen the Supreme Court makes a ruling, governors ignore it at their own peril. But there are a handful of Southern officials–governors, attorneys general, judges–who are not willing to accept marriage equality as the law of the land–at least not yet.

Rather than bow to the inevitable, they are relying on delay tactics and angry rhetoric to stop marriages in their state. In doing so, they are trying to make a point to conservative Christians who are a key part of their Republican voting base. Here’s a roundup of state’s where governors are trying–often unsuccessfully–to pretend today never happened.

Mississippi. Attorney General Jim Hood is in no hurry to allow marriages in his state, preferring instead to wait until he absolutely has to. “The Supreme Court’s decision is not immediately effective in Mississippi,” Hood said. “It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issues same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge [Carlton] Reeves’ order.” Hood offers the wan hope that the court may not lift the stay but issue an order, which would take considerably longer.

Louisiana. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is desperate to gin up some attention to his stillborn presidential campaign, was quick to echo the rhetoric of the religious right. “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” Jindal proclaimed. “I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me.”

Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott, last seen ordering the state national guard to monitor against a federal invasion, issued a directive prohibiting any state officials from taking action against a state employee who refuses to follow the law. Abbott also seemed to suggest that the state would refuse to offer married couples any benefits, but walked back from that idiocy. Attorney General Ken Paxton had warned county clerks to wait to hear from him before issuing marriage licenses, but clerks in the major population centers in the state started marrying couples without a Paxton-inflicted delay.

Alabama. State chief justice Roy Moore, who singlehandedly (and likely improperly) blocked marriage in the state, isn’t done trying to pour sand in the gears. He insists the state’s injunction against marriage is still in effect, and he plans to seek a rehearing to drag things out even longer. The odds of the rehearing succeeding are nil, and even the state attorney general acknowledges marriage equality is the law.

But Moore’s obstinance will be a boon to clerks who don’t want to follow the law.