Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore has ordered state judges to ignore same-sex marriage laws and said they should not issue any gay marriage licenses.
Mr Moore, who has a history of voicing his anti-gay marriage views, issued a so-called administrative order on Wednesday which attempts to contradict the nation-wide law that legalized gay marriage on 3 March 2015.
“Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to [the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Marriage Protection Act]. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”
The four-page order said that “confusion and uncertainty exist” among local judges who were either operating by so-called Alabama state laws which ban same-sex marriage or adhering to the case of Obergefell v Hodges, which legalized gay marriage last year.
“Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell; others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses. This disparity affects the administration of justice in this State,” the order read.
Mr Moore pointed to states such as Nebraska and Kansas, where the federal ruling has been challenged in court.
He added that he is authorised and empowered to “take affirmative action” and order that until further decision is taken by the Alabama Supreme Court, the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in force.