Alabama chief justice encourages judges to ignore same-sex marriage ruling

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The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has given some questionable advice after a federal ruling struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, saying judges should ignore the decision.

Justice Roy Moore wrote to the Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, saying the ruling which was stayed for two weeks until 9 February, could be overruled by a US Supreme Court decision by the end of June, and does not apply to judges in the state.

“I am dismayed by those judges in our state who have stated they will recognise and unilaterally enforce a federal court decision which does not bind them,” Moore wrote.

“I would advise them that the issuance of such licenses would be in defiance of the laws and constitution of Alabama.”

The Attorney General of Alabama this week filed an appeal against a ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

District court Judge Callie VS Granade ruled last week that the state’s ‘Sanctity of Marriage Amendment’ – which defined marriage as between a man and a woman – was unconstitutional.

Judge Granade has since granted a two-week stay, meaning that same-sex couples will not be able to marry yet.

The state’s Republican Attorney General, Luther Strange, has since launched an appeal against the ruling with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

He wrote: “Judge Granade’s decision to grant a stay of her January 23, 2015, ruling concerning Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages is a step in the right direction.

“While I would have preferred a longer stay to allow the matter to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling in June, the 14-day stay allows more time for my office to prepare our stay request to the 11th Circuit Court while also affording the public time to resolve the confusion over the impact of the recent ruling.”

The outcome of the case is likely to be entirely irrelevant in the long run, as the US Supreme Court is currently preparing to hear a wider same-sex marriage case, that could bring equality to all 50 states.