Alabama chief justice says same-sex marriage licenses should not be issued

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January 6, 2016

ALABAMA – The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state's probate judges on Wednesday not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year legalizing gay marriage.

January 6, 2016

ALABAMA – The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state's probate judges on Wednesday not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year legalizing gay marriage.

FILE – In this Feb. 17, 2015, file photo, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore poses in front the the American flag in Montgomery, Ala. The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 ordered the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, a decision that flies in the face of numerous rulings by federal judges in Alabama and other states across the country who have said banning gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

Chief Justice Roy Moore said the U.S. Supreme Court decision is at odds with earlier opinions by the state's highest court, resulting in "confusion and uncertainty" among probate judges.

Many of the state's judges have been issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples since the national ruling, while others refused to do so or stopped issuing licenses to any couples, Moore said.

"This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state," he said in his administrative order.

While the Alabama Supreme Court weighs the issue, probate judges "have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary" to the state's law banning same-sex marriage, Moore said.

The effect of Moore's order was not immediately clear.

Gay marriage activists quickly rebuked it, arguing Moore does not have the authority to override higher courts.

"Chief Justice Roy Moore today issued a dead letter," said Scott McCoy, a senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. "This is Moore yet again confusing his role as chief justice with his personal anti-LGBT agenda."


Courtesy: Reuters

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