[JURIST] Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday after the US Supreme Court refused to extend [press release] a two-week stay [JURIST report] on a federal judge’s ruling. Last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official website] struck down [JURIST report] the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act [text]. Late Sunday night Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore [official website] ordered lower courts to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses, causing some confusion. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange [official website] said Monday, “[I]n the absence of a stay, there will likely be more confusion in the coming months leading up to the Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage.”
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be one of the most important topics in the US today. When the Supreme Court agreed last month to rule [JURIST report] on same-sex marriage, it consolidated appeals from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld bans [JURIST report] in those states, creating a circuit split. The court granted one hour and 30 minutes for oral arguments, which will likely be held in April with a decision expected in June. The four consolidated cases are Obergefell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder and Bourke v. Beshear [dockets].