Bowden: Thought marriage issue would have been worked out by now

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

Months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage in the country was constitutional, no one in Covington County can get a marriage license.

Ben Bowden

Ben Bowden

Probate Judge Ben Bowden told members of the Lions Club Wednesday that he is still under an order from the Alabama Supreme Court to not issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Bowden said that since the federal law says he can’t discriminate in the issuance of marriage licenses, he’s simply not issuing them to anyone – homosexual or heterosexual.

Bowden said he had hoped the issue would have worked itself out quickly but it hasn’t.

“I felt like I was being told by one court to do it and the other court not to do it,” he said. In addition, he said, Alabama law says the probate judge, “may issue,” licenses, not that it “shall issue.”

In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage.

Bowden said nine counties, including Covington, are still not issuing licenses.

A bill to abolish marriage licenses in the state and replace them with contracts failed to pass in the House Tuesday night.

The House voted 53-36 in favor of the bill, but it required a two-thirds vote for approval because it was not part of the governor’s call for the special session.