Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

The Alabama Supreme Court has ordered Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis’ attorney said he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t, because of opposing rulings from state and federal courts, according to Alabama Media Group.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a federal judge’s ruling applied only to four couples named in the lawsuit. Most probate judges in the state had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and argued that the ruling went beyond the four couples because the federal judge struck down the law as unconstitutional.

In other states, governors, attorneys general and members of legislatures have challenged federal court rulings on marriage equality. This is the first time a state Supreme Court challenged a federal court and claimed that state laws trump federal decisions declaring those laws unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court ruling was a 6-1 decision. The judge voting against the decision said the issue was not properly brought before the court.

The attorney who brought the original marriage suit has added several couples and asked for class action status. That would settle the state Supreme Court ruling that the decision only applied to the four plaintiffs.