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Following Alabama Chief Justice Moore’s order that state probate judges not issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, and following the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to deny a continuation of the stay on same-sex marriages, the question of same-sex marriage in Alabama remains somewhat ambiguous. On 12 February, U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade ordered Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis to ignore Justice Moore’s order and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Chief Justice Moore recently made an appearance on CNN in which he promoted a ‘state’s rights’ approach to the marriage issue. In this interview, the controversial Chief Justice said, ‘I believe that marriage was defined by God. Especially in Alabama we recognize that it’s a divine institution in our law.
‘Gay marriage is an alteration of the definition of marriage,’ he continued. ‘The U.S. Supreme Court does not have the authority or the federal courts do not have the authority to interpret a word that disputes the constitution.’
In the same interview, Chief Justice Moore also raised doubts about whether or not he would abide by a SCOTUS ruling in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples.
The fallout from the Chief Justice’s order continues to showcase a division between the state of Alabama and the federal judiciary.
As of this writing, 25 counties in the state issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, around 16 deny same-sex couples licenses and around 26 have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether.