11 to 15 Alabama Counties Still Refusing to Comply with Obergefell Ruling
Same-sex marriage became the law of the land in June 2015, but Alabama has yet to fully comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Eleven counties across the state have shuttered their marriage license offices entirely. Four additional counties refuse to state whether or not they are providing marriage licenses to LGBT couples. Those 4 counties are:
Between July 2015 and January 2016, the Campaign for Southern Equality has repeatedly called Probate Court offices in each of these counties to ask a simple question: do you issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But answers have been elusive, as staff say they are unable to answer the question and cannot say when an answer will be available.
“It is discouraging that there are still judges in our state that refuse to follow the law. The fact is all Americans now have a fundamental right to marry the person they love no matter where they live. Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry in Alabama harms no one and it is time these judges start doing their job,” says Cari Searcy, a plaintiff in Searcy v. Strange.
On January 23, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade ruled in Searcy v. Strange that the state of Alabama’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Additionally, Judge Granade ordered the Alabama Attorney General to stop enforcing the bans on marriage equality.
Alabama is the only known state in the country where non-compliance with the Obergefell ruling persists. “Gay couples live in every county across Alabama and they have a fundamental right to marry. They deserve to be treated fairly when they go to the marriage license office in their home county. We are calling upon Coosa, Chambers, Crenshaw and Lamar Counties to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to LGBT couples,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
Beyond the four counties with unknown practices, 11 counties have closed their marriage licenses offices entirely and are refusing to issue licenses to any couple, LGBT or straight. Those 11 counties are:
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges recognizing the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry across our country. On July 1 of that year, Judge Callie Granade of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama once again ruled that all probate judges in Alabama must immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.