Remember when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriages? Remember how happy we all were that it was a step in the right direction? #LoveWins?
Well, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has ordered all probate judges in the state to cease administering marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This order goes directly against the ruling of the United States Supreme Court and could set marriage equality back several years if left unchecked.
Shortly after giving this order, the probate court in Mobile County's website said they would “not issuing marriage licenses to any applicants until further notice.”
This office, one of the busiest in the state, is the same office that prompted a federal judge to investigate and strike down the state's marriage restrictions. The federal judge ultimately forbade the probate judges “from enforcing the Alabama laws which prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage.”
Moore attempted to push through a similar order when the Supreme Court passed its initial ruling but was ultimately ignored. Now, it seems he has gained enough sway over his state's judges that enough license production has ceased.
Moore is a well-known religious conservative and argues that they should not be forced to do something that goes against their own state law -- even if that something is a United States Supreme Court decision. He claims the conflicting rulings between the state and the nation have led to "confusion and uncertainty" among the state's judges, and "affects the administration of justice in [the] state."
The attorneys of Birmingham and Mobile released a statement on Wednesday expressing "grave concerns" about Moore's order and ultimately disagree with it.
“Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not to disobey it,” Joyce White Vance and Kenyen R. Brown said. “This issue has been decided by the highest court in the land, and Alabama must follow that law.”
Some of Alabama's probate judges have taken to social media to denounce the order, saying they will not follow the chief justice's ruling. This opinion is shared by legal experts and human rights activists throughout the state.