Politics

Alabama Jails, Fines Minister Who Performed Lesbian Wedding

| by Alexander Rubinstein
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Unitarian Minister Anne DePrizio was sentenced to 30 days in jail, six months on probation, and fined $250 for performing a lesbian wedding in the state of Alabama after a federal court ruled that the state’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.

DiPrizio conducted a wedding between two women at a probate judge’s office in Prattville, Alabama, in February. A judge ordered DiPrizio to stop, but she refused, choosing to obey the federal ruling, and refused to vacate the office.

The case stands in contrast to some conservatives' qualms about marriage equality. DiPrizio, a Unitarian, was sent to jail for exercising her religious beliefs, which is precisely the fear of some gay marriage opponents. So far, however, no conservatives or religious opponents of marriage equality have come to DiPrizio’s defense, according to the Advocate.

Meanwhile, Ireland has voted on a referendum to legalize same-sex weddings. Ireland’s legislators still have to craft a constitutional amendment to reflect the vote, which is expected this summer. The order will then have to be signed before becoming law, which is expected to happen before 2016.

Like Ireland, the United States is inching closer to marriage equality, The Huffington Post reports. The Supreme Court will issue a ruling this June on the national legalization of same-sex marriage. If the court rules in favor of gay marriage, it could become legal in the next few months. If the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of states' same-sex marriage bans, it could take more than a decade to undo.

The ruling will come at a time of record-high support for marriage equality, Gallup reports. Today, 60 percent of Americans support a same-sex couple’s right to marry. Support is up five percentage points from 2014, and growth has been seen across all parties.

Just two decades ago, only 27 percent of Americans were in support of gay marriage. Since then, Democrats’ support has grown the most, a total of 43 percentage points since 1996, the year in which President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of state-allowed marriages.

Today, 76 percent of Democrats are in support of same-sex marriage. Independents are closest to the national average, at 64 percent. Republicans are only at 37 percent though that number is climbing as well. This may be a generational divide, considering younger Americans are significantly more likely to support it while those over 65 are more likely to oppose.

Sources: Advocate, The Huffington Post, Gallup

Photo Source: Wikipedia, Screenshot via Advocate