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Confusion in Alabama as State Judge Fights Supreme Court After It Allows Same-Sex Marriage
Gay rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, DC on June 26, 2013. The US Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a controversial federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, in a major victory for supporters of same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) had denied married gay and lesbian couples in the United States the same rights and benefits that straight couples have long taken for granted. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Confusion in Alabama as State Judge Fights Supreme Court After It Allows Same-Sex Marriage

"...this Court's increasingly cavalier attitude toward the states..."

The Supreme Court on Monday morning effectively legalized same-sex marriage in Alabama, by rejecting Alabama's request to delay a court order that found against the state's same-sex marriage laws.

The high court's decision made Alabama the 37th state to legalize gay marriage. But it also led to confusion in the state Monday morning, as Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order late Sunday night asking all probate judges to ignore any message from the Supreme Court.

Moore's order reflects his last-ditch attempt to argue that there are still several outstanding cases related to same-sex marriage that should be heard before the state gives up its law.

"Effective immediately, no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975," his order said.

The confusion surrounding that order and the Supreme Court decision led some probate judges to announce Monday morning that they would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, although other judges said they would, and marriage licenses were being handed out in some areas of the state. The Birmingham News reported several instances of probate judges who said they would not issue any orders, including one who said, "I don't know whether I want to defy the Chief justice of the state Supreme Court or a federal judge."

Just before 9 a.m., the Birmingham News reported a statement from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who noted the confusion by advising people to "talk to their attorneys and associations about how to respond to the ruling."

Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented from the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision to reject Alabama's request for a delay. "Today's decision represents yet another example of this Court's increasingly cavalier attitude toward the states," they wrote.

Monday's decision is just the latest in a series of decisions that have legalized gay marriage in several states across the country. In 2014, the Court decided against taking up cases from five states that wanted to appeal lower court rulings against their laws banning same-sex marriage. That decision allowed the lower rulings to stand, thus allowing same-sex marriage in those states and several others.

In January, the Supreme Court said it would hear four same-sex marriage cases from lower courts, involving Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Read the Thomas and Scalia dissent below, followed by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Sunday night order:


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