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Federal judge orders Mobile County to issue same-sex marriage licenses

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Marshall called Moore’s directive, sent hours before courthouses opened Monday, a “ploy” to stop gay marriage in Alabama. A telephone message left with Moore’s office was not immediately returned Thursday.

Before the hearing, Moore was steadfast in his belief that the federal courts had intruded in the state’s sovereignty.

“Once they start tampering with the definition of marriage which was given of God, there is no end to it,” he said.

A long-time supporter of Moore’s, who watched the hearing, predicted that this would not be the end of the fight. Orange Beach businessman Dean Young dismissed the hearing as a “dog and pony show.”

“Eighty-one percent of the people voted for a constitutional amendment saying marriage is between one man and one woman,” Young said of the 2006 vote for a gay marriage ban.

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Michael Druhan, an attorney for Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis, said Davis closed marriage license operations altogether this week – even for heterosexual couples – rather than navigate what seemed like a legal minefield of conflicting directives.

The number of states in which gay and lesbian couples can marry has nearly doubled since October, from 19 to 37, largely as a result of terse Supreme Court orders that allowed lower court rulings to become final and rejected state efforts to keep marriage bans in place pending appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling by June regarding whether gay couples nationwide have a fundamental right to marry and whether states can ban such unions.

A copy of the order is here

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