MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 3 (UPI) -- Alabama's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered probate judges to stop handing out same-sex marriage licenses.
The ruling came about in reaction to case brought by the Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program, which asked "for a clear judicial pronouncement that Alabama law prohibits the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples."
The Supreme Court cited Alabama legal code, which states that "marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman" and "no marriage license shall be issued in the state of Alabama to parties of the same sex."
"As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for 'marriage' between only one man and one woman," the 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."
Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage was overturned as unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade on Jan. 23.
Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama, called the ruling "tyranny" and told probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Granade in February ordered a Mobile County probate judge -- who defied her earlier order -- to issue the marriage licenses.
"I don't really think that they can do that. I'm not surprised, but I'm somewhat appalled," he said. "The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the stay [on the order striking down the gay marriage ban] would expire on Feb. 9. On Feb. 9, same-sex marriage effectively became legal in Alabama."
"These people are married," he said of his clients, Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand. "There's nothing the Alabama Supreme Court can do to overturn that."