Probate judges in Chilton, Elmore and Geneva counties say they will not perform same-sex weddings once they become legal Monday, because of their religious beliefs. Chilton County Probate Judge Bobby Martin told the Clanton Advertiser he will issue wedding licenses to same-sex couples but will not perform weddings. “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and because of that, I will not perform a ceremony for a couple that doesn’t fit in that criteria,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen told the Montgomery Advertiser, he would not perform same-sex marriages because it goes against his beliefs. That report continued: “In an opinion piece sent to media outlets in late January, Enslen said his personal opinion is that same-sex marriage is “repugnant and repulsive to God.”
“In other words, I believe Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for just such unnatural conduct between the same sexes,” he said in the piece. He followed by saying he did not cite his religious beliefs as support for legal propositions and that it is not his opinion — personal or professional — that counts. “Beyond that, it is my fervent hope and prayer that the U.S. Supreme Court will be moved upon by God to rule that the people of a state have a right to define and restrict marriage to the traditional, child-bearing, child-rearing, and child-centered relationship that has worked well for thousands of years and is consistent with sound social science.” In Geneva County, probate judge Fred Hamic told Associated Press he would follow the law and issue licenses for same-sex weddings, but he couldn’t perform a same-sex ceremony because of his Christian beliefs.
So, partly to avoid potential legal problems, Hamic said would give up performing marriages to avoid having to wed a same-sex couple. “I’m not going to be a party to it,” Hamic said in an interview from his office near the Florida line in Geneva. “I was raised in a Christian home and I was taught that it is a sin.” Covington County Probate Judge Ben Bowden announced Friday that he wouldn’t perform same-sex marriages, but not because of his personal beliefs. “I have concluded that I have a duty to uphold Alabama law until a court with authority over me directs me otherwise,” Bowden said, according to WSFA. “The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear and rule on a very similar case from another state this summer. I look forward to getting a definitive answer as soon as possible.” Probate judges in Autauga, Bibb, Cherokee, Clay, Coffee, Colbert, Conecuh, and Crenshaw and Escambia counties said they would issue licenses but would not perform marriage ceremonies. More