The Latest: Civil rights groups blast Alabama judge's order

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Posted: Jan 06, 2016 7:29 PM
The Latest: Civil rights groups blast Alabama judge's order

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's administrative order saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples (All times local):

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6:20 p.m.

Civil rights advocacy groups are speaking out against Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore after he issued an order saying probate judges have a "ministerial duty" not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore issued an administrative order Wednesday saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed new information in an ethics complaint against Moore to the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission saying Moore has failed to respect and comply with the law as required by the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow also called Moore an obstructionist in an emailed statement.

Moore said he wasn't immediately able to comment.

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5:15 p.m.

Several Alabama probate judges have stopped issuing marriage licenses after an order was issued by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Moore issued an administrative order Wednesday saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples.

He stopped short of directly ordering the probate judges to not issue the licenses. Nonetheless, at least three Alabama counties suspended all marriage license operations in response.

Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis says he closed the marriage license office to "ensure full compliance with all court rulings."

Lawrence County Probate Judge Michael Praytor says he has sought the opinion of the county attorney, and will likely make a decision Thursday on how to proceed.

Chief Clerk of the Madison County Probate Patty Hanson says she's also awaiting guidance from the county's attorney.

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2 p.m.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is once again suggesting that Alabama probate judges refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples — despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling more than six months ago that effectively legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

The outspoken chief justice issued an administrative order Wednesday saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples. He said the order to refuse the licenses remains in "full force."

However, Moore stopped short of directly telling judges to refuse the licenses.

Susan Watson is director of the ACLU of Alabama. Watson called Moore's order "silly" and said it wouldn't change the fact that most Alabama judges are issuing licenses to gay couples.