Ballard won’t perform weddings going forward

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal

Probate judges in Alabama will have to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples Monday morning when their offices open unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.

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The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to issue a stay Tuesday on a ruling made by a district judge that Alabama’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

District Judge Callie Granade ruled Jan. 23 that Alabama’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The stay she placed on her own ruling expires Monday.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s office filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling until they rule on the issue in June.

Strange said he was disappointed in the decision made by the 11th Circuit Court.

“The confusion that has been created by the District Court’s ruling could linger for months until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves this issue once and for all,” Strange said.

Gov. Robert Bentley also expressed his disappointment in the decision.

“The issue of same sex marriage is a complicated one that involves all levels of government,” Bentley said. “My request to the 11th Circuit was simply to ask that the stay be held until the Supreme Court can rule once and for all this year or pending the fully briefed 11th Circuit appeal of the issue. I support the Attorney General’s decision to ask the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of the 11th Circuit’s decision.”

Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard said the ruling did not come as a surprise.

“It is very clear to me that my office will have to issue licenses,” Ballard said. “I’m sworn to uphold the constitution of the state of Alabama and the United States, and if its changed where same-sex marriages are legal, then I will have no option rather than to issue a license.”

Ballard agrees with the decision to file a motion with the Supreme Court.

“I hope some appeal is heard and listened to,” Ballard said. “It is a good argument to be made. Why would you change [the law] in February when the Supreme Court is going to rule on it in the latter part of June?”

While Ballard will have to issue licenses if the ruling stands, the probate judge will not have to perform marriages.

“As of Feb. 1, I stopped doing marriages,” Ballard said. “I will no longer do marriages of any kind. That’s an option that [probate judges] have. We don’t have to do marriages.”