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Probate judges opposed to gay marriage stand firm

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By MARTIN SWANT and CLAIRE GALOFARO
Associated Press

TROY, Ala. (AP) - Gay couples can petition, protest and even sue - but that won't change Probate Judge Wes Allen's mind: He's not issuing them marriage licenses, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that marriage is a constitutional right equally held by all Americans.

Allen is the probate judge in Pike County, a county in southern Alabama with a population of about 33,000. He says he's within his legal rights to deny the licenses, because he has decided to issue no licenses at all - even to heterosexual couples.

Allen and other probate judges in the state cite Alabama Code section 30-1-9, which says marriage licenses "may" be issued by them - not that they must issue them.

Consequently, Allen says, he is "not in violation of any Supreme Court order.

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