Alabama slow to begin issuing licenses for same-sex couples

MOBILE, Ala. -- In Alabama, many local judges remained defiant Tuesday, one day after a federal court order made same-sex marriage legal.

The window was closed at the office where marriage licenses are usually available in Mobile, leaving some same-sex couples disappointed.

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Same-sex couples express disappointment after being unable to get marriage licenses Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Mobile, Alabama. CBS News

Licenses were also unavailable at the rural Pike County courthouse in the small town of Troy

Alabama judges defy federal ruling on same-sex marriage

"Pike County probate office is not going to be in the marriage licensing business altogether, we've decided to take ourselves out of that," Probate Judge Wes Allen said.

Allen said it wasn't a difficult decision for him to make.

"Well, you know you don't want to disappoint anybody, but at the same time, you've got those deeply-held Christian beliefs that I do," Allen said, "so it really was one that I slept well at night when I made the decision and I've had overwhelming support from the community since we made this announcement on Friday."

Not surprising in a state where only 32 percent support same-sex marriage -- tied for lowest in the nation.

On Monday, 54 of Alabama's 67 counties were not issuing licenses to same sex couples, despite the federal ruling to do so.

Alabama judge calls gay marriage ruling an “aberration”

But in a surprising development, 13 judges have now reversed course, leaving 41 counties still holding out.

One of those changing his mind is Judge John Enslen, who announced on his Facebook page Monday, "Elmore County will NOT be issuing same sex marriage licenses."

But Tuesday, Enslen said, "The dust has quickly settled, and it is clear to me that our federal constitution, consistent with the federal district court's ruling, will be interpreted to provide a constitutional right to same sex marriage on a national scale."

The next big step comes Thursday, when same-sex couples will ask a federal judge to order a state judge to issue marriage licenses.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.