Alabama Supreme Court Defiantly Halts Gay Marriage
Court goes against federal ruling
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2015 2:00 AM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2015 6:44 AM CST
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore poses in front of the American flag in Montgomery, Ala.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)
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(Newser) – The Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state's probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples yesterday, saying a previous federal ruling that gay-marriage bans violate the US Constitution does not preclude them from following state law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The all-Republican court in Montgomery sided with the argument offered by a pair of conservative organizations when they appealed a decision by US District Judge Callie Granade, who ruled in January that both Alabama's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. It was not immediately clear what impact the latest ruling would have or whether it would stand.

While a six-member majority of the nine-member court did not explicitly invalidate the marriages of hundreds of same-sex couples who obtained licenses in the state in recent weeks, the decision used the term "purported" to describe those licenses. A lawyer for the couple in the case that resulted in Granade's ruling overturning Alabama's gay-marriage ban says the US Supreme Court spoke on the Alabama case when it refused to block Granade's decision. "The Alabama Supreme Court has now demonstrated a willingness to defy and nullify a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the federal district court for the southern district of Alabama," he says.