Confusion in Alabama after anti-gay chief justice same-sex marriage denial

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Comments made by Alabama’s Chief Justice on Monday caused major confusion in the state, with same-sex couples being left not knowing whether they could marry.

Following last Friday’s US Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, which found marriage was a constitutional right for all couples, some probate judges in Alabama began issuing marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.

Later in the day, however, following an order by the Alabama Supreme Court, the state’s chief justice Roy Moore made comments to, suggesting that as of Monday same-sex couples did not have the right to marry in the state.

Due to a March ruling by a federal district court which struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, and a subsequent order by the state’s Supreme Court blocking probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licences, Moor suggested that Friday’s US Supreme Court ruling would not take effect for 25 days.

“What the order means is that within that 25-day period no [probate judge] has to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple,” Moore said

The Alabama Supreme Court issued an order asking for input from those party to the March ruling as to “the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell on this Court’s existing orders.”

However, Moore has since walked back his comments, saying the instruction from the Alabama Supreme Court only asks for motions or briefs “addressing the effect of the  U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.”

“In no way does the order instruct probate judges of this State as to whether or not they should comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell,” he wrote in a statement.

Moore, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, has been heavily criticised for causing confusion in the state through his conflicting statements.

He has been accused of attempting to slow down the implementation of same-sex marriage in Alabama.

Earlier in June, Moore said he believed same-sex marriage would destroy the United States.

In February, despite the court ruling abolishing Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, Chief Justice Moore urged probate judges to disobey– and refuse to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples under threat of legal action.

He recently bizarrely suggested that if two bisexuals or trans people wanted a marriage, it would have to involve four people.