News (USA)

Couple behind Alabama same-sex marriage challenge to refile adoption paperwork

Alabama plaintiffs Cari Searcy, left, and Kim McKeand, in a 2006 portrait with their son Khaya in Mobile, Ala.
Alabama plaintiffs Cari Searcy, left, and Kim McKeand, in a 2006 portrait with their son Khaya in Mobile, Ala. Rob Carr, AP (File)

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Searcy filed an adoption application but said she was denied on the basis that only married couples or single people could adopt. The couple wed in California in 2008. They applied again, but said they were rejected again because of the state’s prohibition on recognizing their marriage.

The judge’s Friday decision was met with sharp criticisms from conservatives in and out of Alabama who called it an affront to state voters who in 2006 overwhelmingly approved putting a prohibition on the recognition of same-sex marriages into the Alabama Constitution.

“This federal judge is throwing out the votes of the people of Alabama and attempting to shut down the debate over marriage. In exercising their right to vote, Alabama voters overwhelmingly sent a message that that they want to see society rebuild and strengthen marriage – not have it redefined by unelected judges,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Washington D.C.-based Family Research Council.

The legal fight is not over, however. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s office quickly filed a motion Friday night asking Granade to put her order on hold since the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to consider the issue of gay marriage later this year.

David Kennedy, a lawyer for the couple, said they will file an objection to the request to stay the order. He said the couple also plans to refile their adoption paperwork first thing Monday.

Additional litigation is almost a certainty. The Alabama Probate Judge Association issued a statement Saturday saying there was nothing in the order to require judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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“As probate judges, our duty is to issue marriage licenses in accordance with Alabama law and that means we cannot legally issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. The recent federal ruling does not change that,” said Monroe County Probate Judge Greg Norris, the president of the judges’ association.

Searcy and McKeand said despite living in a state considered one of the most conservative in the country, that they received mostly positive support. They said their son has long been aware of their legal fight.

“To him our family has really been no different than any other family. He just knew we had this court thing. He was very happy. He told one of his friends, ‘We changed the law.'” McKeand said.

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