Metro Weekly

Alabama Chief Justice: Judges should stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Roy Moore - Credit: Alabama Supreme Court

Roy Moore – Credit: Alabama Supreme Court

Roy Moore, Chief Justice of Alabama, refuses to abandon his fight against same-sex marriage. Despite the Supreme Court unequivocally ruling in favor of marriage equality last year, Moore has issued a ruling ordering Alabama’s probate judges to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore argues that a ruling last March by the Alabama Supreme Court remains binding, reports AL.com. After a federal court lifted Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban, the state’s Supreme Court imposed a temporary ban on the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses. The ban was negated when the Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of marriage equality — neither Moore nor Alabama Governor Robert Bentley supported the decision, but it took effect regardless.

In a four-page administrative order, Moore argues that probate judges in Alabama “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary” to Alabama’s law and constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. He states that marriage equality has caused “confusion and uncertainty” among probate judges.

In issuing his order, Moore quoted a state law which grants the chief justice authority to “take affirmative and appropriate action to correct or alleviate any condition or situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state.”

He affirms that “many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” while “others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center called Moore’s order a “dead letter.”

“In no way does his administrative order supersede Judge Granade’s federal injunction prohibiting probate judges from enforcing discriminatory Alabama marriage laws,” SPLC Senior Staff Attorney Scott McCoy said. “If probate judges violate the injunction, they can be held in contempt. This is Moore yet again confusing his role as chief justice with his personal anti-LGBT agenda.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.