Stating he is empowered to block any move that will “bring chaos and confusion into the system,” late Sunday night Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered all probate judges and employees in Alabama to adhere to existing state laws and not issue or recognize same-sex marriages that are supposed to begin Monday morning, according to AL.com.
Moore recently sent a letter to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley saying a federal ruling allowing same-sex marriages violates the state constitution.
At that time, Moore advised judges to disregard the federal court ruling, writing, “I am dismayed by those judges in our state who have stated they will recognize and unilaterally enforce a federal court decision which does not bind them. I would advise them that the issuance of such licenses would be in defiance of the laws and constitution of Alabama.”
Sunday night Moore went a step further issuing an order (pdf), telling state employees they may not “issue or recognize a marriage license” inconsistent with current Alabama statutes.
Moore wrote that should any probate judge fail to follow “the Constitution and statutes of Alabama as stated,” including a statute stating that the state “shall not recognize as valid any common law marriage of parties of the same sex,” they could be subject to sanctions from Alabama Governor Bentley.
The order from Moore comes just hours before the January decision by United States District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade was scheduled to take effect, allowing same-sex couples to wed.