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Alabama LGBT rights and marriage equality


Alabama: Judge Rules in Favor of Second Couple

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Alabama mapThe same judge that ruled in favor of marriage equality in a case where the plaintiffs married out-of-state just issued a second ruling for a couple denied a marriage license in Alabama.

SDGLN reports:

This case was filed by James Strawser, 51, and John Humphrey, 38, who live in Mobile. They met on Facebook and have lived together in Alabama since last year. After they applied for a marriage license and were turned down, they filed their case without the aid of lawyers, according to news reports…

The first case involved a lesbian couple who had a valid wedding ceremony in California and who sued for that marriage to be recognized in Alabama. In the second case, the gay couple were refused a marriage license. “Although the Plaintiffs in this case seek to marry in Alabama, rather than have their marriage in another state recognized, the court adopts the reasoning expressed in the Searcy case and finds that Alabama’s laws violate the Plaintiffs’ rights for the same reasons,” she wrote.

It’s a banner week for marriage equality in Alabama.

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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.

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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.

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Alabama Sodomy Law Not Dead Yet?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Alabama Attorney General Luther StrangeThe Alabama Sodomy Law may not be entirely dead yet.

Joe.My.God reports:

Last Friday an Alabama appeals court struck down the state’s ban on consensual oral and anal sex. Yesterday Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange indicated that he will seek an appeal of that ruling. In a statement, the attorney general said the office believed the law was unconstitutional as applied to consensual acts. However, he said he was concerned with the impact the decision may have on prosecutions involving non-consensual sex.

It’s the same line AG Ken Cucinelli tried to push to preserve the Virginia sodomy law. He failed.

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Alabama Sodomy Law Struck Down By State Supreme Court

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Alabama mapThe Alabama sodomy law, invalid since 2003, was finally actually struck down yesterday.

Joe.My.God reports:

An Alabama appeals court yesterday struck down the state’s ban on consensual oral and anal sex. Such acts have been legal nationwide since Lawrence V Texas, but still. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued its unanimous ruling in Williams vs. Alabama, the appeal of a Dallas County man who was convicted of sexual misconduct, though the jury found the homosexual sexual encounter was consensual. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals said today a portion of Alabama’s sexual misconduct statute is unconstitutional. It was referring to code section 13A-6-65, which reads in part, “consent is no defense to a prosecution.” The state appeals court noted the legislative commentary for the statute says the consent section “was changed by the legislature to make all homosexual conduct criminal, and consent is no defense.”

Sodomy laws have been used selectively to persecute gays in many states, and were all invalidated by the US Supreme Court in 2003, but many states have refused to remove them from their books.

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Alabama Marriage Equality Lawsuit Filed by the ACLU

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Another Alabama marriage equality lawsuit has been filed, this time by the ACLU.

ACLU LogoThe Montgomery Advertiser reports:

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning, is on behalf of April and Ginger Aaron-Brush, a Birmingham couple who were legally married in Massachusetts two years ago and are raising a 7-year-old daughter together. The state’s 1998 Protection of Marriage Act and 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment both outlaw the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. The laws already face legal challenges. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued on behalf of a Montgomery man, and two Mobile women have filed a lawsuit as well. Wendy Crew, one of the cooperating attorneys in the case, said the suit challenges the laws based on the equal protection and full faith and credit clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Now that we’ve exhausted all the states with no lawsuits, I guess we’re going back for seconds on the states that do?

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USA, Alabama: Another Marriage Equality Lawsuit Filed

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Alabama mapA lesbian couple filed a marriage equality lawsuit in Alabama Wednesday.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Two Alabama women filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriage so they can both be legal parents to their 8-year-old son. The suit contends that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage – and refusal to recognize such marriages from other states – violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs, Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, have been a couple for more than 14 years, and have lived in Mobile since 2001. They traveled to California in 2008 to be married there after they won a contest run by the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Another day, another lawsuit – will 2014 end up being as big a year for marriage equality as 2013 was?

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USA: HRC Launches Campaign in the Deep South

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

New Human Rights Campaign President Ready to Wade Into More Marriage Equality FightsThe Human Rights Campaign is taking its gay rights and marriage equality fight to the Deep South.

The Advocate reports:

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s most prominent LGBT rights organization, is launching an $8.5 million intiative to enhance its presence in states that offer no protections for its LGBT citizens. Called Project One America, the initiative will establish offices in the Deep South states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas (coincidentally or not, HRC president Chad Griffin hails from Arkansas). The impetus is to address the serious inequalities in the South, where there is not only a lack of marriage equality, but also no basic protections in housing and employment for LGBTs.

Seems to me Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas could use a little extra LGBT love… 🙂

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USA, Alabama: House Says Ban Gay Marriage in the US Constitution

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Alabama mapShowing they never do know when to quit, the Alabama House is pushing an idea that failed ten years ago – an anti gay marriage amendment to the US Constitution. reports:

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Richard Laird, I-Roanoke, quotes a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex unions, and calls marriage “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” The resolution also cites several court cases, including five from the 19th century. It goes on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court “officially severed its respect for marriage” last year, when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the recognition of same-sex spouses under federal laws.

Laird’s resolution calls for an Article V convention, which would require 34 states to ask Congress to call a convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the resolution, the convention would specifically propose an amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and bar legal recognition of any other form of marriage.

Side note from Towleroad – “Laird infuriated Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker, Patricia Todd, after blindsiding her with the resolution by not describing its contents until it was time for the vote to be taken, thus heading off her objection to it.”


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USA, Alabama: Why the State is Getting Sued Over Its Marriage Equality Ban

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Alabama mapThe details behind the marriage equality lawsuit will break your heart if you have one. Unfortunately, too many in the state don’t seem to.

SDGLN reports:

Paul Hard rushed to the hospital after learning that his husband had been in a car wreck. He sent a text message to other family members: “David in wreck, in the ER, Pray.” When Hard arrived at the hospital, a receptionist refused to give him any information about his husband, David Fancher. He was told he was not a member of Fancher’s “family” and that gay marriages weren’t recognized in Alabama. After a half hour of inquiries, a hospital orderly finally told Hard, “Well, he’s dead.” Paul’s knees fell out from under him. He reached out for support, but the orderly stepped away.

The indignity didn’t stop at the hospital. A funeral home director cited Alabama law in insisting that the death certificate indicate Fancher was never married – even though Fancher and Hard were legally married in Massachusetts, but lived in Alabama.

Disgusting the way he was treated at the bleakest time in his life by people who should have known better. Compassion costs nothing.

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