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Same-sex marriages could begin in Alabama next week

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Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said he was doubtful Alabama could win a reprieve from the Supreme Court. He said the Supreme Court rebuffed a similar request from the Florida attorney general.

Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand filed the lawsuit challenging the ban that prevented Alabama from recognizing their California marriage and Searcy as a parent to their son, to whom McKeand gave birth in 2005 with the help of a sperm donor. A local court had rejected Searcy’s requests to adopt the boy because the two women were not spouses under Alabama law.

Granade’s ruling was the latest in a string of victories for marriage rights advocates in socially conservative states. Judges have struck down bans in the Carolinas, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear arguments this spring from three more states – South Dakota, Arkansas and Missouri – defending gay marriage bans.

Staunch defenders of the ban in Alabama include Chief Justice Roy Moore, who said last week that state courts are not bound by Granade’s order. The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a judicial ethics complaint against Moore over his remarks.

Strange noted Moore’s comments in his filing to the Supreme Court.

David Kennedy, a lawyer for Searcy and McKeand, said there should be no problems as long as probate judges follow the law. He said other states, including neighboring Florida, accomplished the transition to allowing same-sex marriages.

“If Florida can do it, I know that Alabama can,” Kennedy said.

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