Federal judge rules: the freedom to marry is law in Alabama

Today, February 12, U.S. District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade issued an injunction ordering the Mobile, AL probate judge to follow her previous ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Judge Granade issued this order just hours after holding a hearing on whether or not Mobile County should have to issue marriage licenses to all couples after the stay expired on a previous pro-marriage ruling.

Judge Granade wrote:

If Plaintiffs take all steps that are required in the normal course of business as a prerequisite to issuing a marriage license to opposite-sex couples, Judge Davis may not deny them a license on the ground that Plaintiffs constitute same-sex couples or because it is prohibited by the Sanctity of Marriage. Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act or by any other Alabama law or Order pertaining to same-sex marriage. This injunction binds Judge Don Davis and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage.

The hearing today followed a week where hundreds of same-sex couples were joyously married in Alabama after the stay was lifted on February 9. Check out our live blog of the first day of marriage in Alabama here. 

As of today, 23 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, with many of the counties that were not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples also not issuing to different-sex couples.

The marriages followed a ruling by Judge Granade in the case Strawser v. Strange on January 27. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange immediately requested a staywhich Judge Granade issued for 14 days. Strawser v. Strange was filed by James Strawser and John Humphrey, who are unmarried and wish to marry in Alabama. The National Center for Lesbian Rights serves as counsel in the case.

This decision underscores that the nation -- including Alabama -- is ready for marriage.

Read the full ruling here.

Read more about litigation in Alabama here.

We'll be updating you below as Mobile County issues its first marriage licenses to same-sex couples: