In responding to a decision by the Supreme Court not to stay two federal judge's rulings striking down Alabama's ban on gay marriage, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange suggested that probate judges do not have to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Strange had asked the Supreme Court to delay Monday's scheduled implementation of the rulings. In a 7-2 decision, the court denied Strange's request.

(Related: Alabama: 37th state where gay couples can marry.)

Confusing matters on the issue is a letter Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore released Sunday ordering probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Moore argues that federal district court rulings are not binding on state courts.

“In the absence of a stay, there will likely be more confusion,” Strange said in responding to the Supreme Court's decision.

Instead of advising probate judges to follow the rulings, Strange reiterated his position that probate judges do not report to him – the only named defendant in the cases – but to Moore.

“The Chief Justice has explained in a public memorandum that probate judges do not report to me,” Strange wrote. “I advise probate judges to talk to their attorneys and associations about how to respond to the ruling.”

Probate judges in at least 6 counties have stated they will not issue such licenses.