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Alabama begins issuing marriage licenses to gay couples

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday, becoming the 37th state where gays can legally wed.

Jefferson County probate judge Alan King issued a license to two women shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Alabama attorney general’s request to extend a hold on a federal judge’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage.

And King issued the license despite Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s 11th-hour attempt to keep the weddings on hold, with an order sent to all probate judges Sunday night directing them to refuse to issue the licenses.

King says he was abiding by the federal court order from January that determined Alabama’s statutory and constitutional bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade had put her order on hold until Monday to let the state prepare for the change.