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.
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
“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.