All marriage licenses on hold in Shelby County

The Shelby County Probate Court put a hold on issuing marriage licenses on Monday, Feb. 9 citing confusion over conflicting state and federal orders. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

The Shelby County Probate Court put a hold on issuing marriage licenses on Monday, Feb. 9 citing confusion over conflicting state and federal orders. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA–The Shelby County Probate Court put a hold on issuing marriage licenses on Feb. 9 citing confusion over conflicting state and federal orders.

“Due to the conflicting orders from the U.S. District Judge Granade and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, this office will not issue any marriage licenses for the immediate future,” read a statement on the window of the courthouse. “We apologize to any citizens that are inconvenienced and we hope that we will be able to serve you in the near future.”

At least one couple lined up outside the Shelby County Courthouse on Monday morning hoping to receive a marriage license, but their request was not granted due to the ongoing confusion around the judicial system.

During a Feb. 9 interview, Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister discussed his disappointment in the way things have been handled dealing with the same-sex marriage licenses.

“My real disappointment is that I’ve spent my entire life working in legal systems and in the judiciary system, and I think right now we’re failing the citizens of Alabama and Shelby County,” said Fuhrmeister. “We’ve long been opposed to activist judges and Judge Granade in Mobile, knowing that the Supreme Court was going to rule in June, has issued a ruling in a case where she really didn’t need to go. Lets wait for the Supreme Court, and we would’ve had clarity and there would be no issues. But instead she chose to issue a ruling that has created a lot of confusion in the state of Alabama.”

Fuhrmeister said Moore’s statement on Sunday, Feb. 8 ordering all Alabama probate judges to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, further complicated things.

“My view is that we have two activist judges and the people of Alabama and the people of Shelby County are caught in between,” said Fuhrmeister.

Fuhrmeister said his office would continue to monitor the situation in the coming days.

“Obviously it’s a very fluid situation and we will just take it one step at a time. If further court rulings come down, we will assess them and see what our position is,” said Fuhrmeister.