MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's chief justice is telling probate judges that they are not required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a federal judge's decision overturning the state's gay marriage ban.
Roy Moore sent a letter Tuesday to probate judges, saying the judge's decision isn't binding on them. Moore said a lower federal court can't force the state to redefine marriage.
U.S. District Judge Callie Granade's order will go into effect Feb. 9 unless the U.S. Supreme Court grants a stay. Gay couples are expected to apply for marriage licenses statewide.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed an ethics complaint against Moore over his comments. Moore was removed from office in 2003 for defying a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state building.