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Marriage Equality Round-Up – September 21st

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

OPINION: Lindsey Kirkham on why we need Bisexual Awareness Week. full story

POP CULTURE: Aydian Dowling, the bodybuilder who is on a mission to become the first transman on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, sat down with vlogger Raymond Braun recently to discuss the Men’s Health Ultimate Guy Search competition and what it’s like dating in the trans community. full story

POP CULTURE: Jeffrey Tambor won the first Emmy of his long career on Sunday for his performance as a transgender woman in the Amazon series Transparent, and dedicated his win to the trans community. full story

POP CULTURE: Transparent creator Jill Soloway won an Emmy for outstanding direction of a comedy series and used the moment to call for transgender equality. full story

Transparent creator Jill Soloway

POP CULTURE: Andy Samberg on Kim Davis: “If I wanted to see an intolerant woman dance, I would’ve gone to one of four of Kim Davis’ weddings. It’s amazing that Kim Davis came out of jail to ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ considering how many guys have boned each other to that song.” full story

Andy Samberg

POP CULTURE: Actress Evan Rachel Wood last week shared a powerful message about her bisexuality ahead of Bisexual Awareness Week, which began on 20 September. full story

EUROPE: In Romania and Finland, it’s legal to have sex with a live pig – but not to marry someone of the same sex. full story

FRANCE: A new poll released in France has revealed 56% of French people are against gay marriage, down from about 63% in 2013. full story

PERU: The first Peruvian children’s book featuring same-sex parents will be unveiled on September 30. full story

¿Camila tiene dos mamás?

SPAIN: The top brass of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have attended the same-sex marriage of their deputy secretary-general, giving tacit approval to a law they once bitterly opposed. full story

UK: A Church of England preacher has left the church as he is not allowed to officiate once his planned same-sex marriage goes ahead. full story

VENEZUELA: A new wave of cinema is emerging from the violence of modern Venezuela focusing on gay love affairs and little boys who wear party dresses. full story

USA: Despite the U.S. military’s approval of hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning as part of her gender reassignment, the convicted Wikileaker has been denied her request to grow her hair out to female standards. full story

Chelsea Manning

USA, ALABAMA: The state Supreme Court has told a woman that the Georgia adoption of her ex-partner’s three children is not valid, and that she is no longer their legal guardian, even though Georgia legally authorized it when they lived there. full story

USA, NEW YORK: A woman and and her mother in New York City were mistaken for a lesbian couple and attacked whilst having dinner. full story

USA, NEW YORK: Two New York legislators are leading a campaign to designate Stonewall Inn as the first national park honoring LGBT history. full story

stonewall

Alabama Supremes Challenge Federal Courts on Marriage Equality

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

AlabamaThe Alabama Supreme Court has weighed in on the marriage equality question, and it’s about what you’d expect.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Alabama Supreme Court late today (Tuesday) ordered all of the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of orders from a federal district court judge overturning the Alabama same-sex marriage ban, and a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to block the district judge’s order… The state’s highest court said Alabama wasn’t bound by this “new definition” of marriage, though marriage equality has “gained ascendancy in certain quarters of the country,” including the federal judiciary. The supreme court’s ruling said: “As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman. Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

The Court has given probate judges five days to respond to the new order.

The case was brought by two anti-gay groups.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The court’s ruling came in response to a request from the Southern Baptist-affiliated Alabama Citizens Action Program and the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, which asked the justices to halt same-sex unions.

Joe Godfrey, executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, said he was very excited about the decision. “We are concerned about the family and the danger that same-sex marriage will have. It will be a devastating blow to the family, which is already struggling,” Godfrey said. He said the decision will provide some stability in Alabama until the U.S Supreme Court rules later this year. The nation’s high court will hear oral arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling by June regarding whether gay couples nationwide have a fundamental right to marry and whether states can ban such unions.

Mat Staver at the Liberty Counsel is over the moon about the decision.

Joe.My.God reports:

The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is historic, and is one of the most researched and well reasoned opinions on marriage to be issued by any court in the country. The legitimacy of the judiciary is undermined when a judge legislates from the bench or usurps the power reserved to the states regarding natural marriage. This decision of the Alabama Supreme Court is very well reasoned, which is quite rare from today’s courts. The decision not only affirms natural marriage but also restores the rule of law.

Meanwhile, the legislature is considering a “right to discriminate” bill.

SDGLN reports:

HB 56 would allow religious organizations to refuse solemnizing and recognizing any marriage, and prevents the government from penalizing organizations for their refusal to recognize marriage. In addition, the bill broadly defines religious organizations to include social service organizations. Because Alabama has no LGBT non-discrimination protections, this bill would exempt organizations from the general rules applicable to spouses, and could allow, for example, a religious hospital to refuse to recognize the spouse of a patient.

It’s gpnna be a crazy day down in Alabama.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Married Italian Gay Couple Interviewed By Local Paper

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Italian Hawaiian Wedding

Some friends of ours who married last year in Hawaii were interviewed by Milena Montefiori of the Resto del Carlino Forlì newspaper.

Here’s our translation of the interview – there’s also a second article about same sex marriage in Italy in the linked article:


Married in Hawaii and The Government There Recognizes It

It was a beautiful wedding day: on the beach in Hawaii, at sunset. Bruno (a pseudonym), whi has lived in Forli for half his life, recounts with some emotion the day he married his partner.

RdCF: How long have you been together?

Bruno: For 13 years and two months.

RdCF: Why did you decide to take this big step?

Bruno: After living together for years, the idea was in the air. We thought that if we waited for Italian law to catch up, who knows when we would be able to marry. And so, when the opportunity presented itself in the US, we did it.

RdCF: What opportunity?

Bruno: We have some American friends that we met years ago during a discussion of marriage equality on Facebook. They had a house in Hawaii and they were our hosts.

RdCF: You lived the dream of many couples. But how much did it cost?

Bruno: Considering that we did not have to pay for nightly lodging, we spent about two thousand Euro a person, including the round-trip flight.

RdCF: And for the wedding, what steps did you have to take, and how much did it cost?

Bruno: In the US, it’s very simple. After having paid a fee of about $100, we chose an officiant and the type of ceremony.

RdCF: What was your wedding ceremony like?

Bruno: No frills, otherwise it would have been crazy-expensive. And afterwards, we celebrated with a group of American friends. Then we went on our honeymoon. Obviously, not with matrimonial leave; we used some of our regular days off.

RdCF: And when you returned to Forli? Did you celebrate?

Bruno: Yes, with my husband’s family that accepts us. They were very happy for us.

RdCF: Now, your marriage, where is it valid?

Bruno: In the US, for now only in the states that recognize marriage equality. And it should be recognized also in countries that recognize same sex marriage.

RdCF: Why is the registration of your marriage important to you?

Bruno: It would be a small step forward to make people here more comfortable with the idea of same sex marriage. Until then, however, we prefer to remain anonymous.

RdCF: Have you seen the judicial ruling in Grosseto that ordered the registration of a marriage between two men?

Bruno: Sure, we hope that it opens the door for our LGBT rights.


See the original article in Italian here.

Pagina Carlino

Texas Marriage Equality Update – February 20th

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Texas mapSo much going on in Texas after a Travis County judge overturned the state’s ban on marriage equality the other day.

First off, there was a legal same sex wedding in Austin.

On Top Magazine reports:

A lesbian couple together more than 30 years married Thursday in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant exchanged vows outside the Travis County Clerk’s Office. The ceremony was presided over by Rabbi Kerry Baker. The women were denied a marriage license eight years ago.

The Dallas Voice has more on the couple:

Sarah Goodfriend is a unpaid policy advisor to Austin state Rep. Celia Israel. She advises primarily on environmental and energy issues. Suzanne Bryant is an attorney in private practice in Austin. The two have been a couple for 31 years, and they exchanged their wedding vows in front of the Travis County Clerk’s office this morning with Rabbi Kerry Baker officiating.

The Dallas Voice also points out that probate court rulings in the state only apply to a single county:

According to the Dallas County Clerk’s office, probate rulings do not carry from one county to another, so a ruling in Travis County earlier this week does not apply in Dallas… Dallas County Clerk John Warren has said he hoped to be the first county clerk to issue marriage licenses in the state. His office has advised that nothing would prevent a Dallas County couple from following the same path as Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant in Travis County and filing suit in probate court here. In this case, they’d have two Travis County opinions to cite in their petition to the court.

Meanwhile, Attorney general Ken Paxton blasted the judge’s ruling and asked the state Supreme Court to issue a stay.

Towleroad.com reports:

“Texas law is clear on the definition of marriage, and I will fight to protect this sacred institution and uphold the will of Texans, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment defining the union as between one man and one woman. The probate judge’s misguided ruling does not change Texas law or allow the issuance of a marriage license to anyone other than one man and one woman.”

The Supreme Court wasted no time in shutting things down, but avoided voiding the first wedding that took place.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Texas Supreme Court has issued a stay in the marriage between a Travis County couple following Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal. The order can be found here. However, this order apparently does not void Sarah Goodfriend’s and Suzanne Bryant’s marriage. Barbara Rosenberg, an attorney who works in the Dallas City Attorney’s Office, said her understanding is that the ruling can only stop future licenses from being issued.

The AG is arguing that the wedding should be voided.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Within hours, the Texas Supreme Court had blocked other gay couples from getting married under similar special exceptions – but didn’t address the women’s marriage, which Paxton said he considered void. But that remains in dispute, and Paxton’s spokeswoman, Cynthia Meyer, said their office will file additional paperwork with the state Supreme Court on Friday to argue their case. “Activist judges don’t change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state,” Paxton said in a statement.

In other state marriage equality news, the plaintiffs in a federal case are asking the court to lift a stay.

Equality on Trial reports:

In the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case DeLeon v. Perry, which has been submitted for decision since arguments have been heard, the plaintiffs are asking the appeals court to lift the stay, or at least to do so for the plaintiffs who have children. The state has filed its opposition, and they claim in part that even if the stay is lifted, the preliminary injunction wouldn’t affect the couple who wants their names listed on their child’s birth certificate.

And in Eastern Texas, other same sex couples celebrated the ruling, but were left waiting yet again.

KYTX reports:

It’s been back and forth all day between a Travis County clerk and the Texas Attorney General after the clerk issued the state’s first same sex marriage license. However, that one license doesn’t change the situation for many other same sex couples in Texas. Karen Wilkerson and her partner have been ready to get married for a year now in Tyler. “I can’t plan a wedding, I can’t send out invitations, I cant book a place for our reception, I can’t start talking to a travel agent to plan a honeymoon because I don’t know when the decision will come down to make it legal for me to marry,” Wilkerson said. She’s happy for Austin couple Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, but says unfortunately that won’t help her case.

The state Supreme Court has only issued a stay, and hasn’t ruled on the merits of the case. We’re also waiting to see what the Fifth Circuit does in regards to its stay.

Nevertheless, it’s a crack in the dam in texas.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Texas.

Alabama Marriage Equality Update – February 11th

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

AlabamaAnother day, another batch of marriage equality news out of Alabama.

Chief Justice Roy Moore played the “gay friends” card.

On Top Magazine reports:

When asked whether he would attend the wedding of a gay friend, Moore responded: “I’ve had many friends who are homosexual. I’ve treated people just like other people. This is not about how I treat people or how I go to a wedding or marriage or anything. It’s about the constitution of Alabama, the constitution of the United States.” “But you wouldn’t be reluctant personally to go to a same-sex wedding?” host Mark Halperin asked. “I would not go to a same-sex wedding, no,” Moore answered.

As of first thing this morning, the number of counties issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples had jumped.

Joe.My.God reports:

Per Equality Alabama, the number of counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses will grow to 22 today as more judges relent. That’s more than double the first day’s number.

Alabama map

Two more counties, Calhoun and Crenshaw, jumped on the marriage equality bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

Confirmed: Crenshaw County, Alabama issuing marriage licenses to all couples as of today, total of 24.

The Calhoun County Probate Judge’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this morning. In a statement released this morning, Martin said several factors went into the decision to begin. “We have considered the Order issued by Justice Moore, which I have been compliant with, and the statements made by Governor Bentley relating to the Order,” she said. “While I am of the opinion an Order with further instruction to the Probate Judges is necessary, that has not been forthcoming, and the Supreme Court’s decision, by a 7 to 2 majority, has been the ultimate deciding factor in my decision today to issue marriage licenses to same-sex applicants.”

Queerty has a new marriage equality map.

…the situation is a bit confusing. Some counties are issuing marriage licenses to eager same-sex couples (see map, via New York Times), and some have closed up shop altogether, preventing both gay and straight couples from tying the knot.

Queerty Marriage Equality Map

The hearing in the Mobile County case is tomorrow. Equality on Trial will be there.

I’m not sure exactly how the hearing will go down, but it seems like there’s at least a chance she may rule from the bench given the immediacy of the situation: couples have been wanting to get married since Monday.

Meanwhile, two conservative groups asked the state Supreme Court to step in to shut down the weddings.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Two conservative groups are asking the Alabama Supreme Court to order state probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples. The Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program filed the request Wednesday. The groups are asking the justices to back the position of Chief Justice Roy Moore that probate judges should not issue the licenses.

In a separate case, the state Supreme Court declined to offer an opinion on whether probate judges should issue the licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

In an order from the Alabama Supreme Court, the court declined to address the issue of whether individual county probate judges should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court held that the request is an advisory opinion, simply seeking their views on a question with no adversarial proceedings. Those kinds of opinions are only allowed under Alabama law if they are sought by the governor or the legislature

The Atlantic looks at the abysmal level of support for marriage equality in the state.

The state is last in the nation in support for marriage equality—tied with next-door neighbor Mississippi. Although majorities of Americans now favor same-sex marriage, just 32 percent of Alabamians and Mississippians do, according to numbers from the Public Religion Research Institute. PRRI is releasing an unusually large data set, including 40,000 interviews conducted over 2014 in all 50 states, as part of the American Values Atlas. The biggest factor in the low support seems to be the high concentration of white evangelical Protestants in those two states — 39 percent of Alabamians identify as members of that demographic, double the nationwide average. Even as the rest of the South has undergone huge shifts in opinion toward marriage equality, Alabama and Mississippi remain outliers.

The GOP in the state issued a statement on the mess.

Joe.My.God reports:

“…how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.”

Paul Gordon at the Huffington Post looks at how Alabama’s defiance shows what’s wrong with the push for “religious freedom” laws.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits?… It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

The Huffington Post profiles the Federal Judge who brought down the state’s marriage equality ban:

It may be only fitting then that now, standing on the other side of Moore, is Granade, the granddaughter of a civil rights-era judge who stood up to the white segregationist South during the 1950s and 1960s and helped advance equality for African-Americans. Judge Richard Rives played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Richard Rives, Granade’s grandfather, was one of the judges known as the “Fifth Circuit Four.” These judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued decisions that were crucial in breaking down segregation barriers in the South. Writing in The Nation in 2004, College of Charleston Professor Jack Bass said they “fleshed out the bare bones of [Brown v. Board of Education] and transformed it into a broad mandate for racial justice.”

We’ll end with a moving story from Troy Masters, who spent a lot of his childhood in Alabama in the 1960’s.

Gay City News reports:

“Troy is a queer,” I overheard my stepfather say with energetic disgust to another family member. Even at 13, I understood that my feelings for other boys were supposed to be secret. Now I knew terror. What my stepfather said humiliated me, sending an icy panic through my body that changed my demeanor and ruined my confidence. For the first time in my life, I felt depression and I became painfully shy. Alabama became a place, not of love, not of shelter, not of the magic of family, but of fear… But that Alabama is not the Alabama of tomorrow.

The hearing in the Mobile case is tomorrow.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Alabama Marriage Equality Update 2/10/15

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

AlabamaAnother day, more controversy in Alabama as the marriage equality fight continues.

At least three counties have relented and started to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples:

It’s possible that these counties are reacting to a statement made last night by the governor. Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, said he believes strongly that marriage is between one man and one woman, but that the issue should be “worked out through the proper legal channels” and not through defiance of the law. The governor noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama — events chronicled in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.” “I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. The three counties (Limestone, Morgan, and Elmore) have a combined population of 280,000. That still leaves more than 50 counties who are not serving gay couples.

Attorney General Luther Strange filed his response to the plaintiffs’ amended complaint.

Equality on Trial reports:

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed his response to yesterday’s request from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who’s representing the plaintiffs in Strawser v. Strange, to amend their complaint, add new plaintiffs and defendants, and request a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the Mobile County Probate Judge. The filing notes that the attorney general can’t issue marriage licenses, nor can he order county probate judges to take any actions or open their offices. Because of that, he doesn’t oppose the addition of plaintiffs who are seeking marriage licenses from Mobile County, and the probate judge of the county as a defendant.

The judge in the case has scheduled a hearing for Friday.

Equality on Trial reports:

The federal district court judge who overturned Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, February 12 on the request in Strawser for an injunction requiring Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis. The county is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and they’re see

Some straight couples have been caught in the crossfire:

Meanwhile, Governor Bentley made some conciliatory noises.

Equality on Trial reports:

The governor noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama — events chronicled in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.” “I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

“I’m trying to move this state forward.”

Chief Justice Roy Moore mouthed off again.

The Dallas Voice reports:

…on Monday, Feb. 9, Moore explained to ABC News that he has to stop same-sex marriage, because if loving, committed adult couples of the same gender are allowed to legally marry, then all hell is gonna break loose and then “men and their daughters or women and their sons” would be insisting they be allowed to get married too.

In a fitting tribute, the Klu Klux Klan came out in support of Moore today.

Joe.My.God reports:

From the website of the United Dixie White Knights: The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny. The Feds have no authority over individual States marriage laws. The fudgepackers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!

Lambda Legal is urging probate judges to ignore Moore.

SDGLN reports:

Lambda Legal today sent an open letter to the president of the Alabama Probate Judges Association and probate judges of counties that are not issuing licenses to same-sex couples urging them to disregard Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s legally incorrect and unfounded Administrative Order and instead issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and different-sex couples alike, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state’s request for a stay.

A woman in Autauga County was arrested after trying to perform a same sex wedding ceremony in the probate judge’s office.

Joe.My.God reports:

An Autauga County woman was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct Tuesday morning after offering to perform a same sex marriage inside the probate judge’s office. Anne Susan Diprizio, of the 300 block of Cambridge Street, is charged with disorderly conduct, said Dave Hill, chief deputy of the Autauga County Sheriff’s Office. She was being processed in the Autauga Metro Jail after her arrest and was unavailable for comment. Courthouse records show she doesn’t have an attorney. She was being held on a bond of $1,000, Hill said.

The state has put up the biggest fight against marriage equality so far.

AL.com reports:

Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond School of Law professor who has tracked same-sex marriage litigation across the country, said he does not believe any other state has resisted the federal court system as aggressively as Alabama. He said the closest analogy probably is Florida, where clerks across the state initially insisted that a judge’s order striking down that state’s ban applied only in one county. “It never really culminated in this situation,” he said, referring to Monday’s wild day in Alabama. “The day came, and they were ready and everything went OK.”

US Senator Jeff Sessions jumped into the fray today.

Towleroad.com reports:

Sessions told CQ Roll Call that he believes judges’ rulings in favor of marriage equality have more to do with sentiment that an accurate interpretation of the U.S. Constitution: “I think it’s an unhealthy trend that judges feel that they’re somehow reflecting popular opinion when first of all, it’s not popular opinion, and secondly, who are they to be ruling on cases based on how they feel.”

Nate Cohn at the New York Times looks at the depth of opposition to gay marriage in Alabama:

…Those results suggest that Alabama would have voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage if it had been on the ballot there in 2012. I estimate the vote would have been roughly 73 percent to 27 percent against same-sex marriage. The estimate is based on the relationship between support for same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington; educational attainment; population density; the number of evangelical Christians and African-Americans; and support for Mr. Obama. Support for same-sex marriage has increased further over the last two years, rising to about 54 percent last year from 49 percent in 2012, according to Pew and Gallup national polls. Nonetheless, a majority — and probably two-thirds — of Alabama voters most likely remain opposed.

Now we wait for Friday’s hearing and the judge’s ruling.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Alabama in Turmoil After Marriage Equality Comes to State

Monday, February 9th, 2015

As the US Supreme Court declined to extend the stay on a Federal Judge’s ruling and as same sex couples started to marry in the state, opponents of marriage equality dug in their heels.

Things started off well enough, with many counties issuing licenses.

Joe.My.God reports:

According to local media it appears that the majority of Alabama’s 67 counties are issuing or prepared to issue same-sex marriage licenses. At this writing fewer than a dozen counties have confirmed that they are defying this morning’s order by the Supreme Court. Probate judges in several counties decided not to issue any marriage licenses at all – to same-sex or heterosexual couples. In some counties, including Butler County, Colbert County and Coosa County probate courts are taking marriage applications from all couples but not issuing licenses. In Coffee County, Jefferson County, Chilton County and Madison County, probate judges said they will issue marriage licenses to all couples, gay and straight, on Monday morning. Probate judges in other counties chose to follow the order issued late Sunday by Chief Justice Moore. Probate judges in Bibb County, Covington County, Cleburne County and Washington County decided not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday, but will still issue licenses to opposite-sex couples.

As the day wore on, more and more counties jumped on the anti-gay discrimination bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

At the start of the day fewer than a dozen of Alabama’s 67 counties had been confirmed as refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. It appears that number has now about tripled. Most of the counties contacted by AL.com this morning have suspended issuing all marriage licenses in the wake of conflicting rulings from a federal judge and the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The majority of counties across the state have either suspended the issuance of all marriage licenses or are only accepting applications. Probate judges have said it is the best compromise for the moment, until they determine which order to follow. Other probate judges have said that they may change their policies within hours or days. Counties colored red are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Those colored green are issuing licenses to all couples. Those shaded in yellow are not issuing any marriage licenses and those colored orange are only accepting applications, but issuing no licenses.

Alabama Map

The Governor was no help.

Towleroad reports:

“This issue has created confusion with conflicting direction for Probate Judges in Alabama. Probate Judges have a unique responsibility in our state, and I support them. I will not take any action against Probate Judges, which would only serve to further complicate this issue. We will follow the rule of law in Alabama, and allow the issue of same sex marriage to be worked out through the proper legal channels.”

And the Attorney General took up the Chief Justice’s contention that probate judges could turn away same sex couples.

On Top Magazine reports:

In responding to a decision by the Supreme Court not to stay two federal judge’s rulings striking down Alabama’s ban on gay marriage, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange suggested that probate judges do not have to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Strange had asked the Supreme Court to delay Monday’s scheduled implementation of the rulings. In a 7-2 decision, the court denied Strange’s request.

The Human Rights Campaign called for the impeachment of Chief Justice Moore over his refusal to follow the federal court judgment.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition to remove Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from office. Moore urged the governor of Alabama and probate judges, who issue licenses in the state, to stand in the way of same-sex marriages despite an explicit order by a federal judge. The HRC petition calls on the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Moore — who previously declared that homosexuality should be a punishable offense and grounds for losing parental custody — for shirking the law and the obligations of his office.

One of the plaintiff couples filed a contempt motion against the Mobile County probate judge for refusing to issue licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

Mobile County, Alabama, is stalling in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The county has said there are some delays, and they’re not issuing licenses until those are worked out. They aren’t even opening the marriage license division. Attorneys for the couple who filed Searcy v. Strange have just filed a contempt motion requesting “an Order declaring the Honorable Don Davis to be in contempt, to further order law enforcement to open the marriage license division of Mobile County Probate Court, impose sanctions against the Honorable Don Davis, and any such further legal remedies this Court deems appropriate and just, the premises considered.”

The motion was promptly swatted down by a federal judge.

Joe.My.God reports:

“Probate Judge Don Davis is not a party in this case and the Order of January 23, 2015, did not directly order Davis to do anything. Judge Davis’s obligation to follow the Constitution does not arise from this court’s Order. The Clarification Order noted that actions against Judge Davis or others who fail to follow the Constitution could be initiated by persons who are harmed by their failure to follow the law. However, no such action is before the Court at this time.”

The couple responded with an amended complaint against pretty much everyone in Mobile County government.

Joe.My.God reports:

Mobile lawsuit

The Supreme Court’s decision to not extend the stay reinforces the trend they started in Florida.

USA Today reports:

The Supreme Court will decide whether to allow same-sex marriage nationwide later this year. But it’s leaving little doubt which way it’s leaning. The latest evidence came Monday, when the high court denied Alabama’s request that gay marriages be blocked while the state appeals a federal judge’s ruling that allowed gays and lesbians to wed. That was the same decision the justices reached in Florida two months ago, allowing the Sunshine State to become the 36th in the nation where same-sex marriage is legal. Alabama now becomes the 37th.

In one bit of excellent news, Paul Hard, a gay man who has been embroiled in a legal fight against his deceased husband’s mother as she tries to steal her son’s estate won the latest round.

Towleroad reports:

The state of Alabama has issued Hard a new death certificate for Fancher, this time listing Fancher as his husband. Said Hard, “Getting David’s death certificate was emotional. Just to finally see the wording on there that at the time of his death he was married, and he was married to me, corrects a hurtful wrong.”

This will make it much harder for the evil mother-in-law to get her hands on her son’s estate.

We’ll leave you with this cartoon, which draws a great parallel between the hateful men blocking the door to marriage equality and their counterparts in an earlier era.

Cartoon Birmingham News

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

US Supreme Court Won’t Intervene In Alabama Marriage Equality Case

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Alabama mapOnce again, the US Supreme Court has declined to step in to halt same sex weddings in a Southern State.

Equality on Trial reports:

This morning, the Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request to put same-sex marriages on hold pending the appeal of two cases. Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia dissented, writing, “Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States. Over the past few months, the Court has repeatedly denied stays of lower court judgments enjoining the enforcement of state laws on questionable constitutional grounds.

This means weddings will begin in the state today, and some counties are already marrying same sex couples.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Alabama Ruling Stayed – No Weddings For Two Weeks

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Alabama mapIn an overabundance of caution, an Alabama Judge stayed her own marriage equality ruling, giving the state two weeks to present its case to the Eleventh Circuit.

The Washington Blade reports:

In a six-page order, U.S. District Judge Callie V. S. Granade, an appointee of George W. Bush, says she agrees for the time being to a request from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to stay her decision, which was issued on Friday. Granade writes Luther is unlikely to succeed on appeal and same-sex couples in the state would be harmed by a stay, but nonetheless puts a hold on the ruling to give the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Alabama, a chance to weigh in.

“[T]he court recognizes the value of allowing the Eleventh Circuit an opportunity to determine whether a stay is appropriate,” Granade writes. “Accordingly, although no indefinite stay issues today, the court will allow the Attorney General time to present his arguments to the Eleventh Circuit so that the appeals court can decide whether to dissolve or continue the stay pending appeal (assuming there will be an appeal.) The preliminary injunction will be stayed for 14 days.”

This is the same Eleventh Circuit that declined to place a stay on a Florida decision last month. And shortly after that, the Supremes voted 7-2 to allow weddings proceed in that state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Alabama Marriage Equality Ban With No Stay

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Alabama mapThe number of states with marriage equality just jumped to 37.

The Washington Blade reports:

A federal judge in Alabama has become the latest to strike down a state ban on same-sex marriage, ruling against the Yellowhammer State’s prohibition on gay nuptials on the basis that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment. In a 10-page decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade, an appointee of George W. Bush, issued summary judgement in favor of a plaintiff same-sex couple, finding Alabama marriage laws violate the couple’s right to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

“There has been no evidence presented that these marriage laws have any effect on the choices of couples to have or raise children, whether they are same-sex couples or opposite-sex couples,” Granade writes. “In sum, the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama.”

We’re guessing that, absent a stay, couples will start Monday morning, unless a county clerk decides to open on the weekend. AG Luther Strange has asked the judge for a stay.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.