Eliminate Marriage Licenses - the New GOP Gamble Against SSM
It should of course come as no surprise that several states, most of them southern, are not responding well to last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling on Same Sex marriage. What MAY come as a surprise is the way in which those states have pledged to fight it.
On one level or another Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas have all vowed to consider eliminating state Marriage licenses altogether as a way to avoid having to hand out licenses to gay couples.
The newest developments out of Mississippi are as follows:
Mississippi is considering pulling the plug on issuing marriage licenses altogether after the Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage Friday morning.
As the state’s governor and lieutenant governor condemned the court’s decision, state House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson began studying ways to prevent gay marriage in Mississippi. Governor Phil Bryant said he would do all he can “to protect and defend the religious freedoms of Mississippi.” To Bryant’s point of doing “all” the state could do, Gipson, who is a Baptist minister, suggested removing marriage licenses entirely.
“One of the options that other states have looked at is removing the state marriage license requirement,” Gipson told The Clarion-Ledger, a local newspaper. “We will be researching what options there are. I personally can see the pros and cons to that. I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not. But it’s an option out there to be considered.”
Oklahoma is investigating a similar change. A bill there would allow notaries and religious leaders to sign marriage documents and strip the power from judges and clerks.
Alabama already has one county that operates in this manner.
And in Lousiana, which was the only state that did NOT issue a marriage license to a gay couple on Friday (a few couples managed to get them in MS before Attorney General Jim Hood enacted a delay on issuing them), Governor and 2016 Presidential Candidate Bobby Jindal has pledged to fight SCOTUS tooth and nail:
Jindal’s administration is holding tight to Louisiana’s ban. It could be nearly a month before gay couples can obtain a marriage license as the Attorney General’s Office asks clerks to not follow the Supreme Court’s ruling, local reports said.
The Louisiana Clerks of Court Association also informed clerks to not issue licenses until a 25-day rehearing period ends for the Supreme Court, in case a challenged is filed, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
“Current state law is still in effect until the courts order us otherwise,” Mike Reed, Jindal’s spokesman, told the Times-Picayune.
Now of course, this doesn’t specifically mention Jindal considering abolishing licenses, but anyone who think he isn’t warm the idea is fooling themselves.
The good money says that most of this legal wrangling will be over by years end, but even if most of the state level stuff gets squared away, expect a lot of continued local resistance to SSM for awhile yet. For example, who knows when every county in Texas will actively be issuing licenses?
Eventually, these states will lose, but don’t expect them to go quietly.