On February 9, 2015, Alabama became the 37th state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage. Despite the amazing – and somewhat surprising – news, like many other states, the new legislation did not come without a hard and dirty fight. On January 23rd, the US District Judge Callie Granade ruled Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and gave the state a deadline of February 10th to make the adjustment.
Immediately there was a motion filed to uphold the ban and in a last-ditch effort Alabama Chief Justice Judge Roy S. Moore ordered officials to deny marriage licenses to gay couples. “Effective immediately, no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with the Alabama Constitution or state law, he wrote in a public letter last night. But the ban was upheld.
Soon this year, the US Supreme Court is set to rule on the matter of marriage equality nationwide. Hundreds of couples have already gathered outside Alabama courthouses to prepare to wed. The state started issuing licenses yesterday morning. Freedom To Marry posted an uplifting and exciting live blog yesterday that featured loving couples wedding in different parts of Alabama. Despite the homophobic attitudes that still pervade many southern states, it’s pretty safe to say that love won yesterday.
Probate judge Alan L. King was glad to ignore Moore’s order and celebrated the couples. “This is a happy day for all of these couples, and if you can’t be happy for people, then I’m sorry,” he told the New York Times. “If someone can’t understand the joy and happiness of others, then I don’t know what else I can say.” There are several counties in Alabama where judges are still declining to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Hopefully, they will soon come around and adopt King’s supportive attitude.
For more information about the legal landscape for marriage in Alabama, check out Freedom To Marry’s in-depth FAQ.