The Alabama Supreme Court on Wednesday
ordered Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to stop issuing
marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, saying that a federal
judge's order was limited to plaintiffs in the case.
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 Judge Davis to begin issuing marriage licenses
to gay couples.
Last week, the state's highest court
ordered all judges to stop issuing such licenses and gave Davis two
days to advise the court “whether he is bound by any existing
federal court order regarding the issuance of any marriage license
other than the four marriage licenses he was ordered to issue in
Strawser v. Strange.”
Davis asked not to be included in the
court's order, stating that he feared violating the federal court's
court disagreed, saying that the federal judge's order was
limited to plaintiffs in the case.
Associate Justice James Gregory “Greg”
Shaw dissented from the ruling: “I do not believe that this court
has jurisdiction in this case; therefore, I dissent.”
Moore is also not listed on the order.
In response to the Alabama Supreme
Court's actions, marriage equality supporters have filed a class
plaintiffs ask court to order judges to issue marriage licenses to