News (USA)

Alabama court refuses to defy Supreme Court on gay marriage

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court refused Friday to defy the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, cutting off a conservative bid to prevent gay weddings in the state.

The court issued a one-sentence order dismissing a challenge by a probate judge and a conservative policy group that wanted the state to bar gay marriage despite the landmark federal decision.

In one of several written opinions accompanying the order, Justice Greg Shaw called the decision a “clear refusal” to ignore the Supreme Court ruling last June.

Several other state justices railed against the high court’s ruling while noting they can’t overturn it.

Chief Justice Roy Moore, a Christian conservative who has repeatedly spoken out against same-sex unions, wrote that previous state orders barring gay marriage in Alabama remain. Most probate judges already are ignoring that directive, however, and hundreds of same-sex couples already have wed in Alabama.

Eric Johnston, an attorney for the Alabama Policy Institute, which went to court seeking to prevent more gay marriages in Alabama, said the decision left opponents nowhere to turn in the court system.

“The order effectively ends the case,” he said in an email interview. “It appears to give us no option.”

Most Alabama counties have been issuing same-sex licenses for months. Randall Marshall, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said that while some of Alabama’s 67 counties quit issuing marriage licenses completely, none was issuing licenses to straight couples while denying licenses to gay couples.

“I don’t think that we will see any change going forward,” he said by email.

While the court used only 11 words in its order, members of the all-Republican bench railed against the U.S. Supreme Court decision in multiple written opinions totaling 169 pages.

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