The U.S. Supreme Court says it will not act to stop same-sex marriages in Alabama.
According to the Associated Press, Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after the announcement from the nation’s high court, which denied a request from Alabama’s attorney general to stay a federal injunction that would have blocked same-sex marriages.
On Sunday evening, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered all probate judges to refuse to issue the licenses, but King said he was obeying the federal court ruling in January that decided Alabama’s statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.
In 2003, Moore–one of Alabama’s most vocal critics of same-sex marriage–also refused to obey a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments from the state’s judicial building.
As the Washington Examiner explains, “Alabama is one of four states whose laws prohibiting gay marriage will come under review by the Supreme Court in the spring, with oral arguments beginning later this month.”
“By refusing to halt marriage licenses in Alabama, the Supreme Court has telegraphed that there is virtually zero risk that they will issue an anti-equality ruling this summer,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, predicted. “Instead, the odds of a ruling bringing marriage equality to all 50 states have increased significantly.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented that the ruling intrudes on the rights of states.
“I would have shown the people of Alabama the respect they deserve and preserved the status quo while the Court resolves this important constitutional question,” Thomas wrote.