Foundation Blasts Granades Order


MONTGOMERY: The Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law today sharply criticized Thursday’s order by Southern District Judge Callie Granade ordering Alabama probate judges to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Even though Judge Granade stayed her order until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a same-sex marriage case, the Foundation said her order is unnecessary and incorrect. Senior Counsel John Eidsmoe noted Judge Granade has ruled that the plaintiffs have shown a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” and “irreparable injury” if the order is not issued; however, she also stated that the Supreme Court’s decision is “imminent.” Eidsmoe said, “If the Supreme Court’s ruling is ‘imminent’ and the plaintiffs are likely to succeed, then there is hardly an irreparable injury.”

Eidsmoe also took issue with Judge Granade’s interpretation of Article VI Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Eidsmoe said, “The Supremacy clause says the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties are the supreme law of the land. It does not say the decisions of lower federal courts are the supreme law of the land. As the Supreme Court said just two years ago in Johnson v. Williams, ‘…the views of the federal courts of appeals do not bind the California Supreme Court when it decides a federal constitutional question, and disagreeing with the lower federal courts is not the same as ignoring federal law.’ Judge Granade’s order totally overlooks the distinction between the Constitution and a court decision.”

Eidsmoe added that “The U.S. Constitution nowhere delegates to the federal government any authority over marriage, so marriage laws are reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment. A federal court can treat same-sex marriage as a fundamental right only be re-defining what marriage is. No federal court has any authority to do that.”

Foundation Executive Director and Counsel Matthew Kidd observed that “Even if Judge Granade has authority to bind the probate judges of the Southern District, which is doubtful, she has no authority to bind the probate judges of the Middle and Northern Districts. Judge Keith Watkins of the Middle District noted in a 10 March 2015 order in a same-sex marriage case, ‘This court is not bound by Searcy [the case in Judge Granade’s court.]'”

Foundation President Kayla Moore described Judge Granade’s order as “a last gasp to save face in a losing battle with the Alabama Supreme Court. Judge Granade needs to remember that the people of Alabama expressed their opinion of same-sex marriage when they passed the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment by 81% to 19% in 2006. The definition of marriage is enshrined in the Alabama Constitution, and an unelected federal judge should respect that.”