Judge Granade Sends Clear Message: Probate Judges Should Start Issuing Marriage Licenses Immediately

by HRC Staff

Federal judge issues order in favor of same-sex couples in Mobile, compelling county’s probate judge who had refused to issue marriage licenses

MONTGOMERY—In a federal court hearing in Mobile today, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued an order in favor of several same-sex couples—represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, ACLU of Alabama, and private counsel Christine Hernandez and David Kennedy—who tried unsuccessfully to get married in the city earlier this week. Probate Judge Don Davis, who has refused to issue licenses to any couples since Monday, was cited by Granade for failing to follow the law.

“Probate Judge Don Davis is hereby enjoined from refusing to issue marriage licenses to plaintiffs due to the Alabama laws which prohibit same-sex marriage,” Judge Granade wrote. “This injunction binds Judge Don Davis and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage.”

“It is time for the judicial chaos that Chief Justice Roy Moore has caused to end,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Both the law and Judge Granade’s action today are crystal clear: refusing to follow the law has consequences. All probate judges should do their duties as public servants and begin to issue licenses to committed, loving same-sex couples immediately.”

As of noon Thursday, 23 counties are issuing marriage licenses to all couples in Alabama, meaning that 45% of Alabama residents are living in counties with marriage equality. But 18 counties, encompassing roughly 1 million people, are still only issuing marriage licenses to heterosexual couples. Though the Mobile Probate Judge is explicitly enjoined in Judge Granade’s new order, HRC has not yet received confirmation that any same-sex marriage licenses have been issued.


Issuing to all couples:

Autauga, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chilton, Coffee, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Elmore, Etowah, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Wilcox and Winston.

45% of population

23 counties

Issuing to only straight couples:

Baldwin, Chambers, Clay, Cleburne. Covington, Dekalb, Escambia, Greene, Lee, Macon, Marengo, Pickens, Shelby, Sumter, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Washington.



Not issuing licenses to any couples:

Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Cherokee, Choctaw, Clarke, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Dale, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Hale, Henry, Houston, Lamar, Lauderdale, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Tallapoosa, Walker.



Current as of Noon on 2/12/2015




In light of today’s action by Judge Granade, HRC will track which, if any, counties take new action on marriage licenses for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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