Hillary Clinton has spoken out against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's order to ban gay marriage licenses - branding the move "unconstitutional".
Southern Poverty Law Centre's Senior Staff Attorney Scott McCoy said: "In no way does his [Moore] administrative order supersede Judge Granade's federal injunction prohibiting probate judges from enforcing discriminatory Alabama marriage laws". This comes after the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages across the nation past year.
Gay marriage activists and legal experts assailed the order, arguing last June's landmark US Supreme Court decision afforded same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Many started issuing same-sex marriage licenses shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, while others opted to either issue traditional licenses only or discontinue offering all any licenses.
Moore noted that some judges in the state have been issuing licenses to same-sex couples, while some have not and some have forgone issuing any licenses altogether. Their information was taken by the Madison County Probate Office, but they were not issued a license, pending a review of Moore's order.
Mr Moore pointed to states such as Nebraska and Kansas, where the federal ruling has been challenged in court. The order points out the Obergefell v. Hodges decision only applied to the states named in the case: Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
"The Alabama Supreme Court issued an order in March 2015 barring probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a federal court in January of past year overturned Alabama's voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman", Staver explained. Sisson and Wolfe were the first same-sex couple in the state to file their marriage licence. He said the order to refuse the licenses remains in "full force".
Defiant until the end, in November 2003 Alabama's judicial ethics panel removed Moore from his position as Chief Justice.
However, Moore stopped short of directly telling judges to refuse the licenses.
Granade reaffirmed her rulings in May, and again after the Obergefell decision. "This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state". The probate judges were left with two orders that contradict each other. "I issued this ruling because of my duty to the Constitution and laws of Alabama but also because I believe that the redefinition of marriage is not within the federal government".