Alabama's Gay-Marriage Showdown

A federal court order requires Alabama judges to issue same-sex marriage licenses -- while the state's chief justice has ordered them not to do it.

The final battleground.

Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

An outright confrontation between the state of Alabama and the U.S. Supreme Court on the question of gay marriage has come two steps closer in the past 24 hours. Last night, Roy Moore, the renegade Alabama chief justice, ordered the state probate judges who supervise all marriages to deny licenses to same-sex couples. This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay that would have delayed a direct conflict between Moore's order and that of the federal district court that has declared Alabama's prohibition of gay marriage unconstitutional. As of now, a federal court order effectively requires Alabama judges to issue marriage licenses -- while the chief justice of the state Supreme Court has ordered them not to do it.

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