Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said on Wednesday that state probate judges should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This comes despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling of legalization of same-sex marriages more than six months ago.
“Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect,” Moore wrote. He also wrote that he was not “at liberty to provide any guidance to Alabama probate judges on the effect of (the Supreme Court ruling) on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court.”
As a consequence to Moore’s order, at least three counties in Alabama stopped issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, ABC News reports.
Last year, a similar order was issued by Moore. However, this time, it hasn’t been determined how his order will be perceived with some officials issuing marriage licenses while the rest are not. According to Susan Watson, director of the ACLU of Alabama, Moore’s order is “silly.”
Moore said on Wednesday that “confusion and uncertainty exist among the probate judges of this State as to the effect” on existing gay marriage orders in Alabama. He added, “Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell (the Supreme Court case); others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses.” As reported by Fox News, he said that the Alabama Supreme Court “continues to deliberate on the matter.”
Moore’s stand on gay marriages – that states should contest the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the legalization of gay marriages – has attracted praise from conservative groups. Washington County Probate Judge Nick Williams praised Moore. “I respect our chief justice greatly,” Williams said. “I think he’s a man of honor and I respect everything he does.” Williams added that Moore’s order does not affect his county as he has not been issuing certificates since June.
Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed expressed his opinion about Moore’s order in a tweet Wednesday, saying, “Judge Moore’s latest charade is just sad & pathetic. My office will ignore him & this.”