MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court late Friday agreed to consider a petition by two conservative groups seeking a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses by state probate judges.
AL.com reports that in a 6-2 decision issued late Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court set up a schedule next week for the different sides to file their answers and briefs on the request filed Wednesday by the Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program.
The court, however, did not say whether it would hold a hearing for oral arguments before responding to the petition. Briefs by probate judges are due Feb. 18 and responses by Feb. 20.
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The groups are asking the justices to back the position of Chief Justice Roy Moore that probate judges should not issue the licenses.
The order stated the briefs by probate judges should address issues raised by the petition, including whether the state Supreme Court even has jurisdiction to hear the petition.
One Alabama Supreme Court justice wrote he believes an order halting the issuance of licenses could inject more confusion and, possibly, subject more probate judge to federal lawsuits.
Article continues belowEarlier this week, several same-sex couples filed a lawsuit against the Mobile County probate judge for refusing to issue marriage licenses.
U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, who struck down the gay marriage ban last month, issued a strongly worded order on Thursday ordering the judge to comply, signaling to probate judges across the state that they should do the same.
At the start of the week, fewer than a dozen of Alabama’s 67 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but by Friday that number had risen to at least 47, and several others said they would begin issuing the licenses on Monday.