Alabama has become the next state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite an attempt by Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore to block the movement by issuing an order to refuse same-sex couples licenses.
According to the Washington Post, Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a letter late Sunday that advised probate judges to follow state law and deny marriage licenses to gay couples even though a federal judge ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.
ABC News stated that in January, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade determined that Alabama's statutory and constitutional bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional.
"She put her order on hold until Monday to let the state prepare for the change. The state attorney general has requested that the hold be extended, but the U.S. Supreme Court refused to do so, paving the way for the marriages to begin," ABC News reported.
Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, Moore's letter to probate judges states that anyone who violates his order would face "a reprimand by the governor."
"Effective immediately, no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with a constitutional amendment and a state law banning same-sex unions," Moore wrote according to the Washington Post.While many probate judges have already said they will be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, there are a few who are refusing. According to a previous report by the Inquisitr, at least two counties in Alabama are refusing to issue gay marriage licenses.
Covington County Probate Judge Ben Bowden stated that he will not be issuing any same-sex marriage licenses, though he says his decision was based upon existing law, not personal/religious beliefs.
"I have concluded that I have a duty to uphold Alabama law until a court with authority over me directs me otherwise," Bowden wrote. "The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear and rule on a very similar case from another state this summer. I look forward to getting a definitive answer as soon as possible."While there may be some uncertainty surrounding Alabama issuing gay marriage licenses, that hasn't stopped same-sex couples from lining up for them.
"It's about time," said Shante Wolfe, 21. She and Tori Sisson of Tuskegee had camped out in a blue and white tent and became the first in the county given a license according to ABC News.
As of Monday, Alabama has become the 37 state to issue gay marriage licenses and to allow same-sex couples to wed.
[image via Shutterstock/Alice Day]