UPDATED: Alabama Chief Justice Bans Judges From Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses


Despite a federal judge's order, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has banned the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.which legal experts will need to sort out.

Roy Moore, the fire-and-brimstone Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court, has just banned the issuance of marriage licenses to any same-sex couple. In Alabama, only probate judges may issue marriage licenses, and Moore has effectively banned same-sex marriage in the Heart of Dixie.

Moore's order, which also bans the recognition of any same-sex marriage, is in direct contradiction to a federal judge's ruling, and comes just hours before her stay is set to expire on Monday. Many same-sex couples have been eagerly awaiting the stay's expiration, and will likely have to wait longer. 

LOOK: Crusading Alabama Judge Takes Entire County 'Out Of Marriage Licensing Business Altogether'

His order sets up a constitutional crisis between the federal and state governments, and between the state judiciary and executive branches, roping the governor into his likely illegal or unconstitutional order.

"Should any Probate Judge of this state fail to follow the Constitution and statutes of Alabama as stated," Moore's late-night directive reads, "it would be the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley, in whom the Constitution vests "the supreme executive power of this state," Art. V, § 113, Ala. Const. 1901, to ensure the execution of the law."

U.S. Supreme Court justices, in a rare move, have ignored a request to extend the stay that expires Monday, without any response whatsoever. 


The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which days ago called for Moore's firing, Sunday night labeled his act a "clear violation of all codes of legal ethics, boundaries of jurisdiction, and moral decency." 

"This is a pathetic, last-ditch attempt at judicial fiat by an Alabama Supreme Court justice—a man who should respect the rule of law rather than advance his personal beliefs," HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. "Absent further action by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal ruling striking down Alabama's marriage ban ought to be fully enforced, and couples that have been waiting decades to access equal marriage under the law should not have to wait a single day longer. All probate judges should issue licenses tomorrow morning, and Chief Justice Roy Moore ought to be sanctioned."




Extending his incorrect legal premise, in Sunday night's order Moore claims that because the Alabama and U.S. Supreme Courts have not ruled on Alabama's same-sex marriage ban, it is still in effect - despite a federal judge's ruling. In a claim with which most legal authorities would disagree, he also claims, "the opinions of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama do not bind the state courts of Alabama but only serve as persuasive authority."


Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen states Chief Justice Moore is "creating a crisis in our state." 

"We urge the probate judges to follow the Constitution of the United States and issue marriage licenses when their offices open in the morning," a statement from Cohen reads. "Chief Justice Moore has no authority to tell them to do otherwise."

Responses to Moore's actions via Twitter:

Alabama's Largest Newspaper Asks: 'Is Roy Moore A Closeted Homosexual?'


The is a breaking news and developing story and has been updated.

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