On Tuesday, Anne Susan Diprizio, a 44-year-old ordained minister, was arrested at the Autauga County Probate Office, where she was planning to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony, for refusing to leave the office after the probate judge had told her that he wasn’t planning to issue any same-sex marriage licenses that day.
Ms. Diprizio was soon escorted to the local police office by six officers and charged with “misdemeanor disorderly conduct.” She had also to pay a bond of $1,000.
The event follows a Monday ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that found Alabama’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and cleared the state to become the 37th state to allow same-sex marriages. But the atmosphere in Alabama was already heated up due to a strong opposition against the issue.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had ordered probate judges to refuse to issue gay marriage licenses, although legal experts had warned that judges who refused to comply with a federal court ruling could face charges of court contempt, get fined or arrested.
Justice Moore argued in his order that the jurisdiction of Alabama’s courts was being unlawfully intruded by federal authority. As a result, starting Monday, many probate judges refused to issue licenses to gay or lesbian couples, while a few others refused to issue any licenses at all, including to straight couple, as a way of showing their discontent.
Anne Susan Diprizio, the minister who was arrested on Tuesday, said that her arrest was a means of intimidation by the local authorities. She also told reporters that there was nothing disorderly about her conduct on that Tuesday. The only person who was behaving disorderly was the probate judge who “was aggressive, rude, hateful, not gentlemanly, had no southern manners – nothing you would expect from a good man”, according to Ms. Diprizio.
The probate judge refused to comment on this matter.
Autauga County was among the Alabama counties that refused to obey a federal ruling in late January, which overturned same-sex marriage ban across the state. Back then, probate judges argued that the ruling was defying Alabama’s constitution. But on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ban was defying the U.S. constitution.
So, Ms. Diprizio showed up the next day at the Autauga County Probate Office to perform her first same-sex marriage ceremony. But after telling the probate judge present there what she was planning to do, Ms. Diprizio said that he exploded at her.
“I gave him the courtesy of letting him know that it was my intent to marry this couple because he is no longer doing that service, and that’s what set him off,”
the minister explained.
Image Source: Montgomery Advertiser