Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said he knew of no Alabama counties that were denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples while giving them to opposite-sex couples.
“Isn’t that amazing?” said Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.
Civil rights groups had threatened to take the probate judges to court if they denied the licenses to gay couples after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gay and lesbian people have a fundamental right to marry nationwide. Several Alabama counties on Thursday were not issuing marriage licenses altogether, which is allowed under how the Alabama law is written.
“It’s great to be able to put this chapter behind us,” Minter said. However, he noted that the situation was fluid and counties were frequently switching their stances.
Marion County, one of the holdouts, began being willing to issue licenses Thursday morning.
“I’m very much opposed to it, but I don’t feel I have any alternatives,” Marion County Probate Judge Rocky Ridings said.
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U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile earlier this year ruled that probate judges could not enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage but put that order on hold until the U.S Supreme Court decision on gay marriage
Granade said Wednesday that state probate judges had an immediate obligation to issue the licenses, or at least treat couples the same, after the high court ruling that gay marriage is legal everywhere.
At least 13 Alabama counties had shut down marriage license operations altogether as of Wednesday. Some judges said they were trying to sort out what to do next. A few said they and their constituents were philosophically opposed to same-sex marriage.
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