Punishing Many to Spite the Few

Written by SK Ashby

If marriage equality is allowed to stand in Alabama, what is a bigoted Alabama Supreme Court justice to do?

Justice Glenn Murdock apparently believes that the court should strike down all marriages if gay marriage is allowed to continue.

Justice Murdock’s opinion is attached to a brief order from the state supreme court as a whole declining to offer further guidance to Alabama probate judges regarding whether they must comply with a federal court order holding that same-sex couples are entitled to the same marriage rights as straight couples. In a brief opinion concurring in that order, Murdock hints that, if this federal court order is permitted to stand, then his own court should strike down all marriages within the state of Alabama.

Murdock suggests that, had the state legislature known that its decision to exclude gay couples from the right to marry was unconstitutional, it might have preferred not to permit anyone to be married in the state of Alabama.

Opponents of same-sex marriage often claim that allowing it will destroy the institution of marriage, but it seems to me that nothing will "destroy the institution of marriage" quite like destroying the institution of marriage would.

How will gay couples destroy the institution if anti-gay judges destroy it first?

Murdock's opinion is very generous in that he presumes that the state legislature wasn't and isn't more than happy to violate the constitution. This is an area of the country that once seceded from the Union, after all.