Alabama resumes issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but not everywhere

Newlyweds Jessica Dent, left, and Carolee Taylor leave a court building in Montgomery, Ala., with their wedding license on Friday, June 26, 2015. The two women were among the first same-sex couples to wed in Alabama after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay people can marry anywhere.

Newlyweds Jessica Dent, left, and Carolee Taylor leave a court building in Montgomery, Ala., with their wedding license on Friday, June 26, 2015. The two women were among the first same-sex couples to wed in Alabama after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay people can marry anywhere. Kim Chandler, AP

Newlyweds Jessica Dent, left, and Carolee Taylor leave a court building in Montgomery, Ala., with their wedding license on Friday, June 26, 2015. The two women were among the first same-sex couples to wed in Alabama after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay people can marry anywhere.Kim Chandler, AP

Newlyweds Jessica Dent, left, and Carolee Taylor leave a court building in Montgomery, Ala., with their wedding license on Friday, June 26, 2015. The two women were among the first same-sex couples to wed in Alabama after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay people can marry anywhere.

Updated: 10:00 p.m. CDT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Jessica Dent and Carolee Taylor exchanged vows in front of a flowing fountain in downtown Montgomery within hours of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

“Never thought it would happen in our lifetime,” Taylor, 39, said, admitting she was so nervous and excited this morning that she repeatedly smudged her toenail polish.

A couple for more than 13 years, they said they didn’t want to wait a day longer to be married. “We waited so long. When it came through, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate, the decision and our love,” Dent, 40, said.

The ruling allowed same-sex weddings to resume in the conservative Deep South state, one of 14 states where gay couples could not marry, and one that had fought against legalized same-sex marriage until the last moment. Couples began marrying in some Alabama counties Friday, but in other counties they had to wait as officials resisted, or tried to figure out what to do next.

A few blocks away from Dent and Taylor’s wedding, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said he was “saddened for the future of our country.”

“They’ve just disregarded everything that precedent holds, and they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country, which is family,” Moore said of the ruling.

Earlier this year, Moore told probate judges they were not bound by a federal judge’s ruling overturning Alabama’s ban on gay marriage. And he noted Friday that an Alabama Supreme Court order from March directing judges to refuse to issue gay-marriage licenses has not been lifted. He stopped short of calling for direct resistance, but said states can fight the ruling, as they have decisions allowing slavery or abortion.

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“The states can do something about this. They’ve done something about things like Dred Scott and Plessy versus Ferguson. There’s been an uproar continually about Roe versus Wade in 1973. This is a religious battle that is just beginning,” Moore said.

In Birmingham, Jefferson County Probate Judge Sherri Friday said issuing same-sex marriage licenses was just “business as usual.”

“It seems like such a big story, but when you get to the mechanics of it, it’s just that now same-sex couples can marry just like everybody else,” Friday said.

Joseph Baker and Joshua Garrard got a marriage license in Jefferson County while still trying to decide if their last name would be Baker-Garrard or Garrard-Baker.

“It’s very refreshing to know that now the government sees us as equals,” Baker said.

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