State judges across the ­country remained largely silent as ­federal courts knocked down dozens of same-sex marriage bans during the past two years. The Alabama Supreme Court is alone in setting up a rare showdown between the state and federal judiciary.

The court last week defied the ­federal judge who declared the state’s prohibition on gay marriage unconstitutional. A majority of the justices, asserting their independence from the federal judiciary, on March 3 barred probate judges statewide from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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