Feds: Alabama judges must obey Supreme Court marriage ruling

A list of the Ten Commandments is displayed behind Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore as he reads his administrative order discouraging probate judges from issuing same sex marriage licenses, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at the Alabama Supreme Court building in Montgomery, Ala. The outspoken chief justice, who previously tried to block gay marriage from coming to the Deep South state, issued an administrative order Wednesday saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March 2015 directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples.

A list of the Ten Commandments is displayed behind Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore as he reads his administrative order discouraging probate judges from issuing same sex marriage licenses, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at the Alabama Supreme Court building in Montgomery, Ala. The outspoken chief justice, who previously tried to block gay marriage from coming to the Deep South state, issued an administrative order Wednesday saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March 2015 directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples. Albert Cesare/The Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Federal prosecutors in Alabama say the state’s probate judges must obey the U.S. Supreme Court‘s decision on gay marriage regardless of an administrative order issued by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Moore said Wednesday that the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples. He said the order to refuse the licenses remains in “full force.”

U.S. Attorneys Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama and Kenyen Brown of the Southern District of Alabama issued a statement saying they had “grave concerns” about Moore’s administrative order.

Vance and Brown say the issue was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court last year and while government officials are free to disagree with the law, they can’t disobey it.

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