Judges in some counties in Alabama have begun issuing marriage licences to gay couples, despite the state’s top judge ordering them not to.

Chief Justice Roy Moore said judges were not bound by a federal ruling lifting the state’s gay marriage ban.

But many counties began marrying couples after the US Supreme Court refused to put marriages on hold.

It means Alabama becomes the 37th US state to legalise same-sex marriage, ahead of a nationwide ruling this year.

But local media reports suggested that at least 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties refused to issue marriage licenses.

Judge Moore has been one of the state’s most outspoken critics of gay marriage. He called homosexuality an “inherent evil” in a 2002 custody ruling against a lesbian mother.

But on Monday morning, the high court’s ruling meant he was powerless to stop it.

In Birmingham, one of the first licenses went to Dee and Laura Bush, who have been together for seven years and have five children between them.

They wed in a park outside the courthouse where a minister was performing ceremonies.

“It is great that we were able to be part of history,” said Dee Bush.

via BBC News – Alabama gay marriage begins in some counties.