From Public Discourse:
What is marriage law in Alabama now? What groups of people are entitled to receive a license? Are all of the marriages that have been contracted in the state of Alabama now unconstitutional? If not, then which ones are still valid? Must Alabama officials stop enforcing all of marriage’s legal protections for the rights of children, such as the presumption of paternity and presumptions of biological parental custody? After all, those incidents cannot apply equally to same-sex couples as to married couples.
What “rule of law” answers these fundamental questions? Judge Granade has now set herself up to be the chief probate officer in the state of Alabama. She has not defined marriage, and her failure to do so leaves state actors, especially probate judges, without a definition of the institution for which they are issuing state licenses. Worse, she has provided no legal standards—not even a limiting principle—to guide her administration of Alabama family law, which she has now taken upon herself. She will be rewriting the family laws of Alabama, piecemeal and arbitrarily, from her bench. Rather than conducting legislative hearings regarding the familial rights and duties related to the definition of marriage, Judge Granade will be conducting contempt proceedings in which she will decide on a case-by-case basis which actions of Alabama officials violate the Constitution and which do not.
If the rule of law is not already dead in Alabama, then it is seriously wounded indeed.