Society

Alabama Judge Rules That Bans On Same-Sex Marriage Are Unconstitutional

| by Arthur Kogan

Alabama is appealing a recent federal judge’s order that overturned its ban on same-sex marriages, writes The Guardian.

On Jan. 23, Judge Callie Granade ruled that Alabama’s statutory and constitutional gay marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution. Granade was requested to put her decision on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court addresses the issue later in the year, but she refused.

Granade did agree to put her decision on hold for two weeks, to allow for an appeal. As a result, many same-sex couples who have been eager to secure a marriage license will now have to wait until at least Feb. 9.

“It’s aggravating. The judge ruled and everybody got so excited and now, this,” said Tori Sisson who was prepared to camp outside a courthouse to secure the license first thing in the morning.

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“As long as a stay is in place, same-sex couples and their families remain in a state of limbo with respect to adoption, child care and custody, medical decisions, employment and health benefits, future tax implications, inheritance and many other rights associated with marriage,” said Granade addressing the requests to put her decision on hold past the initial two-week deadline.

During the next several weeks, Granade is working to issue a separate order clarifying the effect of her ruling on those seeking and issuing marriage licenses across Alabama.

This recent decision in Alabama, a state viewed as socially conservative, is one of the latest victories for same-sex marriages across the South. Despite the ruling, there has been some opposition in the state in terms of issuing marriage licenses to other couples.

The Alabama Probate Judges’ Association has allegedly advised judges to not issue licenses to same-sex couples. The group claims the ruling that declared the ban unconstitutional only applies to the couple in that case, and it does not require its members to issue marriage licenses to other same-sex couples. Attorney David Kennedy says the association needs to “embrace reality.”

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Due to Granade’s decision, many same-sex couples are expecting to receive their marriage license after the Feb. 9 deadline. Granade will continue to receive criticism and requests to wait until the Supreme Court makes its decision. Granade’s separate order clarifying her ruling will likely clear things up in the upcoming weeks. 

Sources: The Guardian, The Guardian  Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons