Alabama seeks to stay order overturning gay marriage ban

24 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alabama Gay-Marriage Ban Thrown Out as Harmful to Children.

A federal judge struck down Alabama’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional on Friday, clearing the way for the conservative Southern state to become the 37th US state where gay marriage is legal. Because US District Court Judge Callie Granade did not place a stay on her ruling, same-sex couples could be eligible to apply for marriage licenses when clerk’s offices open, which gay rights advocates said could be as soon as Saturday.

Granade found that the ban does not further Alabama’s goal of protecting the ties between children and their biological parents, and that it is harmful to the children of same-sex parents. “Those children currently being raised by same-sex parents in Alabama are just as worthy of protection and recognition by the state as are the children being raised by opposite-sex parents,” she wrote. Plaintiffs Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand said that they had been a couple for more than a decade and had a child together with the help of a sperm donor. The Supreme Court’s ruling, which will stem from cases concerning marriage restrictions in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, is due by the end of June. However, an Alabama court refused to let Searcy be recognized as the child’s adoptive parent because state law did not recognize the couple as spouses.

Granade on Friday ruled in favor of two Mobile women who sued to challenge Alabama’s refusal to recognize their 2008 marriage performed in California. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who defended the “Sanctity” law, immediately asked Judge Granade for a stay of the ruling until the Supreme Court rules on the right to marriage equality. In the Alabama case, two women who married in California challenged the state’s prohibition after one of them was denied a request to adopt her spouse’s child because Alabama doesn’t recognize their marriage.

Supreme Court announced this month that it will take up the issue of whether gay couples have a fundamental right to marry and if states can ban such unions. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Judge Granade ruled that the “Sanctity of Marriage Act” violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said the news is a “demonstration of how traditional values espoused by Alabamians have begun to erode even in our conservative state.” Ben Cooper, chairman of Equality Alabama, said, “We expect and hope that the attorney general will uphold the decision to recognize same-sex marriage.

In seeking a stay, state lawyers argued there would be widespread confusion if “marriages are recognized on an interim basis that are ultimately determined to be inconsistent with Alabama law.”

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