Complaints filed against probate judge for refusing same-sex marriage licenses

Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis Staff Reports

MOBILE, Ala. — Two attorneys for a same-sex couple who successfully challenged Alabama’s gay marriage ban have filed a new lawsuit against Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and plaintiffs in an existing case amended their complaint to also name Davis as a defendant.

Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis

Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis

Christine Hernandez and David Kennedy filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court on behalf of eight same-sex couples who were refused marriage licenses Monday in Mobile, Ala., after a federal judge’s order took effect that declared Alabama’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

Davis cited conflicting orders from the federal court and a letter from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore to probate judges on Sunday ordering them not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore was also named as a defendant in the complaint.

The lawsuit comes hours after the attorneys asked a federal judge to hold Davis in contempt of court for not adhering to the court’s ruling striking down the ban.

That request was quickly denied because the plaintiffs — Cari D. Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, who were married six years ago in California — were not denied a marriage license, and Davis was not a defendant in the original lawsuit that challenged the ban.

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade — who struck down the ban on January 23 — rejected the motion to hold 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.

In their original complaint that led to Granade’s ruling, Searcy and McKeand were seeking to have their marriage recognized by Alabama so that they could obtain a second-parent adoption by Searcy of the 9-year-old boy she and McKeand have raised since birth.

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Granade said Searcy and McKeand were not denied a second parent adoption by Davis, and therefore Davis could not be held in contempt of court.

Monday’s lawsuit, naming 16 new plaintiffs denied marriage licenses by Davis, seeks an emergency injunction ordering Davis to issue them licenses in accordance with Granade’s ruling striking down the gay marriage ban.

In a separate action Monday, plaintiffs James Strawser and John Humphrey — who successfully challenged Alabama’s gay marriage ban in a second suit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) — amended their complaint to add three additional plaintiff couples, and name Davis as a defendant for his refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Strawser and Humphrey, et.al., are also seeking an injunction directing Davis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Documents:
Page 2: Motion for contempt;
Page 3: Denial of motion for contempt;
Page 4: New complaint against Davis;
Page 5: Amended complaint in Strawser v. Strange

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