MIAMI: The chief justice of Alabama ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages is legal and told probate judges there they had a “ministerial duty” to stop issuing licenses to gay couples. The ruling, in an administrative order from Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, came seven months after the US Supreme Court, in a historic 5-4 decision, held that states cannot prevent gay couples from marrying and that those that had refused to do so must now recognize such marriages. Critics immediately dismissed Moore’s contention that the high-court ruling was limited in scope. They said there was no question that the Supreme Court ruling extended nationwide. Scott McCoy, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the AL.com website that Moore’s order was a “dead letter,” saying probate judges risked contempt if they failed to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Judge Moore is an ultra-conservative Christian known for his acts of resistance to federal authority.