Opposite-sex marriage licenses resume in Shelby County

The Shelby County Probate Court resumed issuing opposite-sex marriage licenses on Wednesday, Feb. 11. (File)

The Shelby County Probate Court resumed issuing opposite-sex marriage licenses on Wednesday, Feb. 11. (File)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA–The Shelby County Probate Court resumed issuing opposite-sex marriage licenses on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 11, Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister confirmed on Feb. 12.

Earlier in the week, the Shelby County Probate Court put a hold on issuing marriage licenses, citing confusion over conflicting state and federal orders.

Fuhrmeister declined to comment on the issue on Thursday, Feb. 12.

“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 on Monday, Feb. 9. “We apologize to any citizens that are inconvenienced and we hope that we will be able to serve you in the near future.”

During a Feb. 9 interview, 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.