Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore on
Sunday ordered probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay
and lesbian couples.
Two rulings striking down Alabama's ban
on gay marriage are expected to take effect on Monday. As of late
Sunday, a request by the state to delay implementation of the rulings
had gone unanswered by the Supreme Court.
Moore summarized previous comments on
the issue in a six-page letter sent to probate judges and concluded
that “no probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license
that is inconsistent with” a 1998 law and 2006 voter-approve
constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a heterosexual union.
Moore argued that the “opinions of
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
do not bind the state courts of Alabama but only serve as persuasive
authority” and that the “United States District Court for the
Southern District of Alabama has not issued an order directed to the
Probate Judges of Alabama to issue marriage licenses that violate
In addition to ordering probate judges
not to issue such licenses, Moore also pointed out that it would be
up to Republican Governor Robert Bentley to “ensure the execution
of the law” should a probate judge issue a marriage license to a
Bentley's office said that the governor
would have a response on Monday.