Alabama’s first out legislator ties the knot
September 25, 2013
This month, Patricia Todd, the first openly gay legislator in Alabama, married her partner of eight years, Jennifer Clarke, in a ceremony in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The couple said "I Do" on September 14 in front of close family members and friends. "I sat there and thought, 'My God, we can get married. Everybody accepted it and it’s no big deal,'" Rep. Todd said after the ceremony.
Since 2006, Patricia Todd has been serving in the Alabama House of Representatives. Her trip with Jennifer to Massachusetts had been planned for some time - they wanted to marry in a state where same-sex couples could legally marry, with Jennifer explaining, "Patricia and I said we were not doing this as a statement. This was about sanctifying the marriage and making a public commitment to each other."
But when Rep. Todd and Jennifer return to their home state of Alabama - the state that Rep. Todd serves every day in the legislature - their marriage will not be respected by the state. They will be viewed as single, denied the respect and dignity of what they are: married. A constitutional amendment in Alabama restricts marriage to different-sex couples and denies any form of family status or recognition to same-sex couples.
Rep. Todd and her wife know that it's time for marriage across the country - and that the United States can't continue treating same-sex couples differently in each state.
On June 26, the day that the Supreme Court struck down the central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, effectively extending federal protections of marriage to legally married same-sex couples, Rep. Todd celebrated but also urged the country to continue moving forward. She said:
I was waiting for them to make this decision, and I felt they were going to make the right decision. It's a good day and now we can move forward. You can't have 50 different sets of laws about this issue. The court left open a way for those of us who have been left behind.
Read more about the representative's wedding HERE.