News (USA)

Alabama begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Amanda Keller holds a flag as she joins other gay marriage supporters in Linn Park, at the Jefferson County courthouse, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop the marriages from beginning in the conservative southern state.
Amanda Keller holds a flag as she joins other gay marriage supporters in Linn Park, at the Jefferson County courthouse, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop the marriages from beginning in the conservative southern state. Hal Yeager, AP
Shante Wolfe, left, and Tori Sisson walk to get their marriage license at the Montgomery County Probate Office in Montgomery, Ala. on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Sisson and Wolfe were the first couple in the county to file their marriage license.
Shante Wolfe, left, and Tori Sisson walk to get their marriage license at the Montgomery County Probate Office in Montgomery, Ala. on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Sisson and Wolfe were the first couple in the county to file their marriage license. Mickey Welsh, Montgomery Advertiser (AP)

[ Previous ]

In the port city of Mobile, at least nine gay couples had hoped to get marriage licenses, but the court didn’t open the division to anyone.

“They told us they felt like they were in a Catch-22,” David Kennedy, a lawyer presenting the couples, said of officials there. The couples filed a federal lawsuit against Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis asking the court to force him to issue the licenses.

State Attorney General Luther Stranger – who requested that the Supreme Court extend the hold on the federal ruling and delay any issuing of licenses – said in a statement that the justices’ decision to allow marriages was likely to lead to more confusion.

The high court is expected to take up the issue of gay marriage and issue a ruling later this year on whether same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide.

In a statement, Gov. Robert Bentley noted that the Supreme Court would rule on this issue later and said, “I am disappointed that a single Federal court judge disregarded the vote of the Alabama people to define marriage as between a man and woman.” He said he agreed with the court’s dissenting opinion that the ruling represents a “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 issue has created confusion with conflicting direction for Probate Judges in Alabama,” said Bentley, in a statement.

“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.”

In Montgomery, paramedics Melissa and Kimberly Martin finished their night shifts and decided to get married on the spot after seeing that the judge was issuing licenses. They got married in their “Roll Tide” University of Alabama football T-shirts and planned a fancier ceremony later.

“We had thought about going to New York or Florida. How amazing is it that we can get married here at home,” Kimberly Martin said.

Developing story. This report will be updated.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

U.S. Supreme Court declines to block same-sex marriages in Alabama

Previous article

Thomas objects, says Court’s action implies support for same-sex marriage

Next article