The first and only gay elected official in Alabama may not have to follow through on her threat to “out” her straight colleagues in the state House who were having extramarital affairs, something she’d vowed to do if they didn’t vote to legalize gay marriage.
“My intent was to put them on notice: If you’re gonna get up there on the moral high horse and talk about family values, as if gay families don’t have any values, I’m gonna challenge you,” Rep. Patricia Todd wrote on her on Facebook page Jan. 29.
However, those secrets of indiscretion may stay safe thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to grant the state of Alabama’s request for a stay of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down Alabama’s gay marriage ban.
As a result, philandering husbands in the legislature were breathing easier, and gay couples were lining up Monday to be married in Alabama.
Yet a letter from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was issued Sunday ordering probate judges — the officials who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses — to follow state law forbidding gay marriage, rather than the ruling of the appeals court justices that legalized it.
This is not the first time Moore has turned defiant over a Supreme Court order. You might remember him as the “Ten Commandments Judge” who placed a tablet — that he carved himself — listing the Ten Commandments behind his courtroom bench.
Moore reminded the probate judges in his letter that under Alabama law, they are responsible to him and not the attorney general or the federal government.
And he pointed out the Alabama Constitution expressly forbids gay marriage in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment. It declares “marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman” and “no marriage license shall be issued in the state of Alabama to parties of the same sex.”
Probate justices in at least eight counties followed Moore’s advice on the first day gay marriage was allowed in Alabama.
Moore also wrote that any probate justice who did not abide by his ruling would face a reprimand from the governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, who had requested a stay of the court ruling in favor of gay marriage.
“I am disappointed by the 11th Circuit’s decision,” Bentley said in a statement. “The issue of same sex marriage is a complicated one that involves all levels of government. 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.”
Luther Strange, the attorney general of Alabama, released a statement Monday in which he expressed his disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to issue a stay of the circuit court ruling.
“In the absence of a stay, there will likely be more confusion in the coming months leading up to the Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage,” Strange said. “I advise probate judges to talk to their attorneys and associations about how to respond to the ruling.”
Rep. Todd was at the Jefferson County, Ala., courthouse Monday — where a probate justice was issuing licenses to same-sex couples — to show support for the gay couples who lined up before dawn to apply for marriage licenses.
She was met by a small group of protesters, WBRC-TV reported, including James Dansby.
“We’re here to support God’s foundation for marriage: one marriage, one woman,” Dansby said.
“We believe that this type of relationship is very destructive not only to the family, but to society. I want Alabama to know today you’re not taking a step forward, progression, this is destruction to Alabama and society as a whole.”
It is safe to say this was an emotional battle in Alabama. Todd received an envelope with no return address containing a substance the FBI could not identify. Police patrols have increased in her neighborhood.
“I have gotten some pretty nasty emails,” Todd told WBHM-FM on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “You know it only takes one person who is a little off-kilter to cause damage.”
However, Todd said she and the rest of the gay community in Alabama were celebrating their court victory.
“It is joyous. I am not sure I can really wrap my head around it at this moment in time. We are overjoyed,” she said.
The U.S. Supreme Court will take up a same-sex marriage case later this year. The MSM believes this is a done deal, assuring its readers, listeners and viewers gay marriage will be the law of the land in the United States of America, once the Supreme Court issues its decision.
Todd is not sure it will be quite that easy, but she does see the light of a new day dawning.
“I am sure there be litigation when you get into the details of a contract between two people,” she said. “But it should be pretty smooth sailing.”