Watch Chief Justice Roy Moore say the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling is not in effect, and that his court's order banning same-sex marriage licenses is.
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State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has worked especially hard to derail same-sex marriage in his state of Alabama, going so far as to once claim his supreme court was on equal footing with the U.S. Supreme Court. Unlike most jurists, the Alabama Chief Justice prefers to sow confusion, not clarity, as he is doing today.
Moore, as best we and others can understand, is claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, is not in effect, and a ruling his court made, is.
That claim stunned and confused the LGBT and legal communities today:
UPDATE III: Alabama Supreme Court Halts All Same-Sex Marriages, Maybe
Technically, perhaps, one might be able to give some credence to Moore's claim, since Supreme Court judgments are technically not in effect until the official ruling is published. (The one posted Friday is not official or final, but more of a final draft.)
In an interview today with AL.com, Moore discusses an order his state supreme court handed down today, saying, "the practical application is to say that the order of the Supreme Court [of the United States] is not effective and that this injunction [by the Alabama Supreme Court prohibiting probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples] still is."
Meanwhile, what's this really about?
"Did the Alabama Supreme Court have to do this? The answer is 'no,''' former federal judge Joh Carroll tells AL.com. "Were they within their rights? I guess."
"But there is a period of time, by rule, before the decision is final," Carroll, now a law professor at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, adds.
While the U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling Friday legalizing gay marriage has almost no chance of being changed, it is not technically the law of the land for 25 days after the ruling.
When the high court issues an order, there is a 25-day period for appeals before the court's "mandate" is issued to the appeals court that sent the case to the Supreme Court. That mandate establishes the opinion is now the law.
Citing that short window of appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court today issued the order telling the state's probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Here's Justice Moore:
Image: Screenshot via AL.com/YouTube