Eighty-one percent of Alabamans voted to affirm in the state’s constitution that marriage consists of one man and one woman. A federal judge decided they were wrong, and she sought to enforce her ruling by ordering probate judges in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was backed by the US Supreme Court. The highest judge in the state’s judicial system ordered probate judges to ignore her order.
Now the Alabama Supreme Court has ordered probate judges in the state’s 67 counties to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman," Tuesday’s state supreme court ruling said. "Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty."
The 7-1 vote might have been unanimous, but Alabama chief justice Roy Moore abstained from voting. Moore had led a very public fight against U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s decision overturning Alabama’s ban on gay marriage, ordering probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The ruling granted an emergency petition by two Alabama groups opposed to gay marriage,
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this year to take up the issue of whether states can ban gay marriage. A ruling is expected in June.