Alabama chief justice threatens to sue judges who issue gay marriage licences

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Despite that legally, same-sex couples should be able to marry from Monday in Alabama, the state’s chief justice has instructed judges not to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.

Same-sex weddings are set to begin today in some parts of Alabama – though some probate judges are refusing to comply.

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

The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court previously encouraged judges to flout the ruling. 

Justice Roy Moore said in an order that judges in the state are not required to obey the ruling.

“Effective immediately,” Moore wrote, “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” Alabama laws banning same-sex marriage.

Moore’s order addressed 68 probate judges, who among other duties, issue marriage licences.

He went on to suggest that any judge issuing marriage licences could face legal action from the state’s Governor.

If marriages are allowed to begin, Alabama will become the 37th state to recognise equal marriage.