Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore stated Wednesday that state probate judges still refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, even though the Supreme Court of the United States effectively legalised same sex marriage this past June. Moore claims that an administrative order he issued in March 2015, which directed judges to refuse same sex applicants for marriage licenses, was never lifted by the Alabama Supreme Court and therefore is still valid.
Moore’s 2015 order came after a federal ruling which stated Alabama’s ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. The ruling then set off a series of debates over the rights of the states and the reach of the federal judicial system, which came to a head with Moore’s order. Moore claimed that he had issued the order in the following ‘confusion’ over how justices were to respond to the federal ruling.
‘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 in Wednesday’s memo.
Judges in several counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses rather than issue licenses to same sex couples, according to the AP Newsfeed.
Moore’s actions have been greeted with criticism from civil rights groups, including the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign.