Attorneys ask court to hold probate judge in contempt for refusing marriage licenses

Mobile County, Ala., Probate Judge Don Davis

Mobile County, Ala., Probate Judge Don

Mobile County, Ala., Probate Judge Don Davis


The motion to hold Mobile County Probate Court judge Don Davis in contempt because there was no complaint before the court “initiated by persons who are harmed” by his refusal to issue them marriage license. A new lawsuit has been filed against Davis on behalf of eight same-sex couples denied marriage licenses in Mobile on Monday. Details here

MOBILE, Ala. — Two attorneys for a same-sex couple who successfully challenged Alabama‘s gay marriage ban are asking a federal judge to hold Mobile County Probate Court judge Don Davis in contempt for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. reports:

The lawyers, Christine Hernandez and David Kennedy, at first urged patience as Davis huddled with lawyers to figure out how to respond to conflicting court orders from U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade and Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

With Davis refusing to make a decision one way or the other, the office remained closed to couples seeking marriage licenses but eventually opened to people wishing to record deeds and conduct other business.

Finally, Davis took the bench, prompting Kennedy and Hernandez to ask Granade to hold him in contempt and take any enforcement action she deems appropriate. Henandez told reporters that remedies could include fines and even incarceration. “There’s a very real possibility somebody could be going to jail,” she said.

Hernandez noted a 7-2 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court early Monday, compelled Davis – and other probate judges – to follow Granade’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

She says she also will be filing individual complaints from the same-sex couples being denied a license based on the number who want to file.

Mobile County is not the only county refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Greg Norris, president of the Alabama Probate Judge’s Association, said he had heard that only four of the state’s 67 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples – likely due to the conflicting state and federal orders.

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Norris said that in his rural Monroe County, his office didn’t issue any marriage licenses.

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand of Mobile were the same-sex couple that Kennedy and Hernandez represented in their lawsuit, resulting in the January 23, 2015, ruling that Alabama’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

The couple said they hope this will resolve their nearly nine-year effort to get Searcy recognized as a legal parent of their son.

Searcy’s adoption petitions were previously denied because Alabama did not recognize their California marriage.

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