There has been some controversy over certain judges not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after being reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout the state of Alabama, there is much confusion on whether the county judges will allow the issue of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which slowed the momentum gained. Out of the 67 counties, 44 have said that they will not issue the licenses. On the other hand, only eight of the remaining 23 are actually issuing licenses. Some judges and probate courts are confused as to whether they follow the Supreme Court decision or the state and county courts.
The issue at hand is that marriage has both a religious and a legal aspect. The Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution reserves the right of the people to openly express religion and religious affairs without interference from State Law. In this case, one could say that marriage is just that, a religious affair. The state has a right not to legally recognize same-sex marriages but cannot, according to the Constitution, interfere with the religious ceremony of getting married. The clause allows for actions on behalf of religious beliefs. The laws that impose on religious beliefs can be broken if religion is the main reason.
Is same-sex marriage a matter of religion or state? Marriage can be declared a sacred act under the religious laws of the Bible. The Constitution forbids the law to interfere with religion, but does this include the laws of the Bible. In Leviticus 20:13, it says that if a man lays with a man as he would lay with a woman it is an abomination committed by both. The Bible also goes as far to say that those who do shall be put to death. This is to the extreme and would be attributed to that time. These verses, however, are in agreement with those states and judges who would not condone same-sex marriage. In order to gain more momentum, the people could fall back on the religious rights afforded to them. The recognition of marriage as a religious affair could pose a problem.
The allowance of same-sex marriages have slowly picked up, but the controversial nature of the Supreme Court interfering with the state courts can pose an issue for the couples at hand. The state courts feel pushed around by the federal government, which causes constitutional rights to be placed aside while the courts hash out their differences. The Supreme Court usually does not interfere with state issues unless a higher constitutional issue is at hand. Does same-sex marriage raise a constitutional issue? Same-sex couples who are not allowed to marry in the state that other couples are marrying poses a civil rights issue. Some churches are willing to marry those who have received their marriage licenses as well as those who do not possess the legal documentation. With the churches support, same-sex couples can begin to gain momentum and support for their right to marriage.
Written By Cameasha Rucker-Muhammad
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