The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday
ordered probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay and
Two federal rulings striking down
Alabama's ban on gay marriage took effect on Monday, February 9.
Most judges initially followed an order
issued by state Chief Justice Roy S. Moore and either refused to
issue such licenses or suspended issuing all marriage licenses.
Moore, a vocal opponent of marriage equality, argued that federal
district court's opinions “do not bind the state courts of Alabama
but only serve as persuasive authority.”
Most judges fell in line after the same
federal judge ordered Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to begin
issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
Conservative groups the Alabama Policy
Institute and the Alabama Citizens Action Program requested the order
“As it has done for approximately two
centuries, Alabama law allows for 'marriage' between only one man and
one woman,” the court's 148-page
ruling states. “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty
not to issue any marriage licenses contrary to this law. Nothing in
the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”
Judges now have five days to submit
arguments stating why they should be allowed to continue issuing such
Moore is not listed on the order.
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive
director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, called the
“This deeply troubling development
illustrates exactly why the US Supreme Court must rule swiftly to
ensure that same-sex couples in all 50 states have the freedom to
marry. The Alabama State Supreme Court ruling contradicts more than
65 pro-marriage rulings across the country. We are more determined
than ever to protect the rights of families in Alabama. This fight
is not over,” she said.