Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange told a crowd Saturday that voters, not the Supreme Court, should decide whether gay and lesbian couples can marry.

“Who's going to make the decisions for the citizens of this country? Is it going to be the citizens or nine people?” he rhetorically asked a Madison County Republican Men's Club audience during its monthly breakfast in Huntsville.

He added that the issue should be left up to the states, not the federal government.

Strange has resisted two federal court rulings striking down Alabama's ban on gay marriage. Instead of advising probate judges – who issue marriage licenses – to follow the decisions, Strange stated that probate judges do not report to him – the only named defendant in the cases – but to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was advising judges to ignore the court's rulings.

An Alabama Supreme Court ruling ordering probate judges not to issue issue marriage licenses to gay couples has led to a standoff in the state.

Strange filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to uphold similar bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. A decision is expected next month.