An Alabama Woman Was Just Arrested for Trying to Perform a Legal Same-Sex Marriage
In Alabama, where a federal court ruling ordering the state to begin marrying gays and lesbians took force on Monday, an act of love can still get you arrested.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports that 44-year-old Anne Susan Diprizo was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct by the Autauga County Sheriff's Office after she attempted to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony inside a probate judge's office.
According to officers, Diprizo refused to leave the office after identifying herself as an ordained minister and offering to perform a marriage for lesbian couple Courtney Cannon and Morgan Plunkett. Probate Judge Al Booth informed the Adviser that Cannon and Plunkett were denied a marriage ceremony due to workflow reasons, not their LGBT status.
But the two didn't buy it, instead accusing Booth's office of complying with an order by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore to the state's 68 probate judges to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
"They say they have stopped all marriages at the probate office," Cannon told the Advertiser. "But I guarantee you if a heterosexual couple went in there they would marry them in a heartbeat.
"I don't even know her name, but she said she was an ordained minister and wanted to marry us. She was standing up for our rights to get married. Judge Booth called the deputies after he told her to leave."
The background: In February, a federal judge ruled that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and ordered the state to begin performing gay marriages on Feb. 9. That same day, the Supreme Court refused to extend a stay desired by state attorneys that would have delayed gay marriage in Alabama until the nation's top court hears arguments from the four states still defending their bans in court in April — a move widely interpreted as a signal that a majority of the nine justices have already made up their minds in favor of marriage equality.
Moore, an arch-conservative whom the New York Times profiled as a "devout Baptist" and who thinks federal courts are threatening to "take away institutions ordained of God," isn't backing down. He told ABC's Good Morning America that he had issued the order in defiance of the federal court system because he feared it would lead to polygamy and incest.
"Do they stop with one man and one man or one woman and one woman?" he asked. "Or do they go to multiple marriages? Or do they go to marriages between men and their daughters or women and their sons?"
Commentators have begun likening Moore to George Wallace, the pro-segregation Alabama governor who attempted to defy federally-ordered integration orders in in 1963 by standing in the way of soldiers from the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division dispatched by then-President John F. Kennedy. According to Raw Story, more than 50 of the 68 probate judges are following his lead.
Moore's contempt for federal authority won't get him very far. University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa tells Bloomberg that gay marriage in Alabama is now "pretty much inevitable," with the threat of lawsuits hanging over state officials if they refuse to comply with the federal order.
Wallace's promise of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" utterly failed to materialize. So too will Moore eventually have to accept that gay marriage is what in fact is coming to Alabama now, tomorrow and forever. Jefferson, Montgomery and Madison counties are already issuing licenses.
In the meantime, Diprizo has some harsh words for him and his ilk. "These are intimidation tactics and we have the federal government on our side. It's bad for Judge Booth because he is on the wrong side of history," she told the Advertiser.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's about love winning, and today love wins."
Correction: Feb. 10, 2015