On Wednesday, Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order insisting that last March’s ruling issued by the Alabama Supreme Court remain in effect, warning that probate judges “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage licenses” contrary to Alabama’s law and constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
According to AL.com, a four-page administrative order by Moore argues that the ongoing conflict between the state court ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June ruling has resulted in “confusion and uncertainty” among probate judges.
Moore said he took it upon himself to issue the order in his role as administrative head of the state court system.
The administrative order quotes a state law that empowers the chief justice to “take affirmative and appropriate action to correct or alleviate any condition or situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state.”
Moore claims that ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, several Alabama probate judges are issuing licenses to same-sex couples, while other ones are only issuing licenses to opposite-sex couples, or not issuing licenses whatsoever.
He says that this “disparity affects the administration of justice in this state.”
Last January, a federal judge in Mobile ruled that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. His ruling caused confusion and conflicting legal orders: Some judges issued licenses, others did not.
The Alabama Supreme Court issued its order in March following requests from two conservative groups — the Alabama Citizens Action Program and the Alabama Policy Institute — as well as Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen.
Contrary to Alabama law, the order enjoined probate judges from issuing licenses.