11th Circuit will not delay the freedom to marry in Alabama

Today, February 3, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Alabama's request to extend the stay in a federal judge's ruling in favor of the freedom to marry, meaning that same-sex couples should be able to marry on February 9.

Attorney General Strange could ask for a stay in the case from the United States Supreme Court, although the court has denied similar requests for stays in multiple states such as South Carolina, Alaska, Idaho, and Kansas.

The request came after United States Circuit Court Judge Callie V. Granade ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in two cases, Searcy v. Strange and Strawser v. Strange, on January 23 and January 27, respectively. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange immediately requested a stay in Searcy v. Strange, which Judge Granade issued for 14 days. Searcy v. Strange was filed by private counsel on behalf of Cari Searcy and Kim McKead, who are married and strunggling to legally adopt their son. Strawser v. Strange was filed by James Strawser and John Humphrey, who are unmarried and wish to marry in Alabama.

Equality Alabama Board Chairman Ben Cooper said today:

The 11th Circuit did the right thing today for all committed couples and their families in Alabama. Marriage for same-sex couples will give gay people the respect and dignity their commitments deserve, as well as tangible protections in order to build their lives together. The freedom to marry is a reflection of Alabama’s values of love and family. We look forward to seeing the first joyful weddings take place for same-sex couples throughout the state, and against this backdrop of happy celebrations, we hope the court soon hands down a final ruling that ensures that all committed couples in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida finally have the freedom to marry the person they love.

The 11th Circuit's decision underscores that same-sex couples should not have to wait to have the freedom to marry, and shows that the United States Supreme Court, which will be considering the freedom to marry this spring, should rule on the right side of history.