Criticism aimed at judge's same-sex marriage ruling - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Criticism aimed at judge's same-sex marriage ruling

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
One ruling is all it took by a federal judge to divide the state over the issue of same sex marriage.

Now just two weeks after gay couples have been allowed to marry in the state, accusations surfaced calling the judge a liberal and activist.

So that had us digging into the background of Judge Callie Granade and who put her in a position to make such a controversial ruling.

The criticism was swift, biting, and direct after U.S. District Court Judge Granade ruled Alabama's ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional.

Even with the ruling, not all county probate judges are actually issuing licenses to gay couples.

Some out of religious beliefs and others due to confusion after an order from Chief Justice Roy Moore.

"The federal court interpretation of the United States constitution in no way is above state court judges," said Moore. "We've just been led to think that because they're called 'federal,' they're higher."

But are they?

Many, including Judge Granade say they are higher - citing what's called the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"State laws cannot go against the constitution, that's the supremacy clause," said WAFF 48 Legal Analyst Mark McDaniel.

Alabama representative Will Ainsworth out of Guntersville has been very vocal on paper calling Judge Granade a "liberal-activist" adding, "I cannot stand idly by while the wishes of almost 90% of Marshall County voters who supported the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment are being violated by liberal judges pursuing a political agenda."

So who is this federal judge ruffling so many feathers?

Callie Granade, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Alabama joined the court in 2002 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.

A nomination aided by the unanimous recommendations of Republican Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby.

At her confirmation hearing, Senator Sessions said her "integrity, experience, and commitment to the rule of law are outstanding. The thing I think is most valuable in a judge is judgment, and when I had a tough question in the office and I needed advice on what to do, I went to her office."

The sentiment echoed by Senator Shelby, who said "I believe that Ms. Granade's vast experience and legal knowledge make her an ideal nominee for the federal bench. I know that she will continue to serve our great country with honor and distinction as a federal judge."

For days, we've been reaching out to both Senators to get their reaction to being at odds with the person they highly recommended.

For days, we haven't gotten a response to specific questions, namely knowing what they know now would they nominate her again and what if anything they would do differently in the future when it comes to nominating judges.

Both gave statements but neither answered our questions.

Senator Shelby's statement:

“Senator Shelby's long-standing position remains that marriage was created as a sacred union between one man and one woman. While the Senator respects the rule of law, he disagrees with the district court ruling and hopes that the Supreme Court will ultimately rule that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.”

State Representative, Will Ainsworth was far more forthcoming, "I understand that Judge Granade was appointed by George W. Bush, but even Republicans sometimes make mistakes in judicial appointments."

See our questions and Ainsworth's answers here.

Both Senator Sessions and Shelby have joined other names like Senator Ted Cruz and nine Republican lawmakers to introduce the State Marriage Defense Act, aiming to get states to adopt their own definitions of marriage to block the federal government from applying its own definition of marriage.

Either way, it will all be settled once the U.S. Supreme Court takes on the issue in June.

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