Alabama Supreme Court rules 7-1: no gay marriage licenses

The Alabama Supreme Court ordered probate judges on Tuesday to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in apparent defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, underscoring the depth of opposition to gay matrimony in the socially conservative state.

The 7-1 ruling comes roughly three weeks after U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s decision overturning Alabama’s ban on gay marriage went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to put it on hold.

“As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman,” Tuesday’s state supreme court ruling said. “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law.

“Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this year to take up the issue of whether states can ban gay marriage. Its expected ruling in June likely will provide clarity on the issue in Alabama, as well as the 13 states where gay marriage remains illegal.

The Alabama high court ruling, which granted an emergency petition by two Alabama groups opposed to gay marriage, will likely not affect those same-sex couples in Alabama who have already received marriage licenses….

By Jonathan Kaminsky – Reuters –