On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued an order announcing that it had rejected an application from the state of Alabama to block same-sex marriages.
The announcement began a heated showdown between the SCOTUS and Alabama’s top judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore, who just hours before ordered judges throughout the state not to recognize same-sex marriages. Moore wrote a six-page letter denouncing an earlier federal ruling that allowed gay marriage in Alabama, arguing that Supreme Court rulings had no legal binding in states. “Effective immediately, no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with (the Alabama Constitution),” Moore’s order read.
Moore’s letter came one day before same-sex marriage was to be legalized in the southern state following Judge Ginny Granade’s ruling that banning gay marriage violated equal protection rights.
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the Supreme Court’s action.
“Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States, Thomas' dissent read. "Over the past few months, the Court has repeatedly denied stays of lower court judgments enjoining the enforcement of state laws on questionable constitutional grounds. It has similarly declined to grant certiorari to review such judgments without any regard for the people who approved those laws in popular referendums or elected the representatives who voted for them. In this case, the Court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months."
The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will rule on same-sex marriage nationwide this year.