Alabama

STATUS:

A federal court has affirmed the freedom to marry, and both the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court have declined to impose a stay. Now, in light of the Alabama Supreme Court's interference, couples are seeking a class-action in federal court. 

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On March 3, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling in an "emergency petition for writ of mandamus," brought by two private groups who oppose the freedom to marry in Alabama. In the ruling, the Court ordered a temporary halt to probate judges in Alabama from issuing marriage licenses, aside from probate judge Davis in Mobile, who was specifically ordered to stop enforcing Alabama's harmful ban on marriage between same-sex couples.

The injunction stemmed from a January 23 decision from U.S. District Court Judge Callie V. Granade, who ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down Alabama's ban on same-sex couples from marrying. The judge issued a 14-day stay in her ruling, then ruled again in a separate marriage case on January 27. The freedom to marry took effect statewide on February 9.

Legal groups are hard at work on ensuring that the federal order is applied across Alabama so that same-sex couples once and for all can marry in the state, without question. 

HISTORY:

 In 2005, the Alabama state legislature passed a bill that allowed the state's residents to vote on a constitutional amendment to ban all forms of family status for same-sex couples. The amendment passed, cementing clearly discriminatory language into official state policy.

In June 2006 anti-gay forces in Alabama pushed through an anti-marriage constitutional amendment, the so-called Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, which excludes same-sex couples from marriage and bars them from attaining any other form of family status.

In February 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit, seeking respect for a widow's marriage to his husband. In the same year, two other same-sex couples filed separate lawsuits, including Searcy v. Strange, which received a ruling in favor of the freedom to marry in Alabama in January 2015. Read more about marriage litigation in Alabama.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Equality Alabama is working to advance full equality and civil rights for all the people of Alabama through education and action.
  • The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization working on a variety of LGBT issues. NCLR is counsel in the Strawser v. Strange case.
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center is a national legal organization committed to civil rights for all Americans. 
  • The ACLU of Alabama works on a variety of civil rights issues in Alabama, including the freedom to marry. 
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 

POLLING DATA: 

 Support for the freedom to marry has doubled in Alabama in the past 8 years, with 32% of the population now supporting marriage. In 2004, just 16% were supportive. (Williams Institute, 2012) 

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 6,582 same-sex couples are living in Alabama, representing 3.5 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. 

Blog Posts Related to Alabama

In stunningly out-of-step ruling, AL Supreme Court orders temporary hold on marriages

This evening, March 3, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling in an "emergency petition for writ of mandamus," brought by two private groups who oppose the freedom to marry in Alabama.

Marriage supporters give words of thanks to plaintiffs in Alabama case

On Monday, March 2, a federal judge postponed the hearing on an adoption petition in a marriage case in Alabama.

Alabama probate judge refuses to finalize adoption for marriage case plaintiffs

Freedom to Marry is working with our partners at Equality Alabama, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and legal partners to continue pushing for the freedom to marry in Alabama until all same-sex couples, in every county, can say "I do" in Alabama.

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Resources Related to Alabama

FAQ: The Freedom to Marry Coming to Alabama

This FAQ covers what the legal landscape for marriage looks like now in AL, how same-sex couples can marry in Alabama beginning February 9, and what marriage supporters can do in the meantime.

Children’s book Uncle Bobby’s Wedding charms with effortless inclusion

An LGBT-inclusive children's book about an anthropomorphic young guinea pig who worries that Uncle Bobby won't keep having fun with her after he marries his boyfriend Jamie.

Alabama Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Alabama

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