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(Reuters) — The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state’s probate judges on Wednesday not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year legalizing gay marriage.

Chief Justice Roy Moore said the U.S. Supreme Court decision is at odds with earlier opinions by the state’s highest court, resulting in “confusion and uncertainty” among probate judges.

Many of the state’s judges have been issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples since the national ruling, while others refused to do so or stopped issuing licenses to any couples, Moore said.

“This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state,” he said in his administrative order.

While the Alabama Supreme Court weighs the issue, probate judges “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary” to the state’s law banning same-sex marriage, Moore said.

The effect of Moore’s order was not immediately clear.

Gay marriage activists quickly rebuked it, arguing Moore does not have the authority to override higher courts.

“Chief Justice Roy Moore today issued a dead letter,” said Scott McCoy, a senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “This is Moore yet again confusing his role as chief justice with his personal anti-LGBT agenda.”

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)

Photo: Supporters of same-sex marriage hold a rainbow flag and a rainbow umbrella outside Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama February 9, 2015. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Medical experts have been fearing that a new COVID-19 variant would emerge that is even more infectious than the Delta variant, and a new mutation that has emerged in South Africa has some doctors expressing concerns. One of them is 80-year-old expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser. Fauci discussed this new South African variant, which is called B.1.1.529, during a Friday, November 26 appearance on CNN’s New Day.

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