Alabama designs new marriage license to accommodate same-sex unions



MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama‘s health department has distributed new marriage license forms to accommodate same-sex weddings that are expected to begin Monday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health sent the new form Thursday to probate judges across the state. The form has two spaces that read spouse, instead of separate listings for bride and groom. The form also has boxes to list the gender of each spouse.

An alteration of the state’s marriage license form was one of the bureaucratic changes that had to occur ahead of gay wedding ceremonies.

Catherine Molchan Donald, director of the Alabama Center for Health Statistics, said department staff worked, “to come up with one form that could be used for all marriages.”

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s order striking down Alabama’s statutory and constitutional bans on gay marriage will go into effect Monday unless the U.S. Supreme Court grants the state attorney general’s request for a delay.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has asked the Supreme Court to keep the decision on hold since justices are expected to issue a ruling on gay marriage later this year.

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Gay couples are expected to apply for marriage licenses across Alabama on Monday if Granade’s ruling moves forward.

The Birmingham Chapter of Equality Alabama, the National Organization for Women and Freedom to Marry are providing ministers and judges to perform weddings ceremonies at Linn Park in downtown Birmingham.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore this week urged probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the organization has set up a hotline for people to report issues. Watson said the group particularly wants to hear if anyone is denied a marriage license.

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