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Southern Baptist ethicist says Alabama judges must uphold gay marriage law or resign

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) — The head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm says Alabama judges who in good conscience cannot issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, should resign instead of fighting the law while in office.

Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and no relation to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, was quoted in the Baptist Press, the SBC’s official news service, as being in conflict with approximately 44 of 67 Alabama probate judges who have refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. These jurists are acting in defiance of an order by U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade who invalidated an Alabama constitutional amendment, passed by 81 percent of voters, defining marriage in the state as only between one man and one woman.

The issue arose in large part because Judge Roy Moore issued guidance to state judges Sunday night, Feb. 8, ahead of the expiration of a 14-day stay blocking same-sex marriage in Alabama.

Citing the Alabama Constitution as appointing him, as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, the administrative head of the state judicial system, he quoted Alabama law authorizing him to “take affirmative and appropriate action to correct or alleviate any condition or situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state.”

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