MOBILE, Ala.—Moments ago, United States District Judge Callie V. S. Granade instructed Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Today’s order followed a hearing in which four same-sex couples, who were unable to obtain marriage licenses in Mobile on Monday when marriage equality went into effect in the state, asked Judge Granade to instruct Judge Davis to begin issuing marriage licenses. The order requires Judge Davis to begin issuing licenses immediately. [pullquote]“Today’s ruling by Judge Granade provides clear direction to Judge Davis and other probate judges and will help ensure that all same-sex couples in Alabama, regardless of whether they live, have the freedom to marry.”—said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter[/pullquote]
The Alabama couples are James Strawser and John Humphrey, who previously obtained a ruling from Judge Granade declaring that Alabama’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional, Meredith Miller and Anna Lisa Carmichael, Robert Povilat and Milton Persinger, and Kristy Simmons and Marshay Safford. The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the ACLU of Alabama, and Birmingham attorney Heather Fann, and the ACLU of Alabama.
Said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter: “Today’s ruling by Judge Granade provides clear direction to Judge Davis and other probate judges and will help ensure that all same-sex couples in Alabama, regardless of whether they live, have the freedom to marry.”
Added Randall Marshall, Legal Director of the ACLU of Alabama: “Judge Granade’s ruling confirms that the U.S. Constitution requires Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples, gay and straight. We hope state and local officials will recognize that their first obligation is to comply with our federal Constitution and will move quickly to follow the court’s ruling so that all couples in Alabama will be able to share in the dignity and protection that marriage provides.”
In January, Judge Granade held that Alabama’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage are unconstitutional and may no longer be enforced. Judge Granade’s order was set to go into effect on February 9, permitting same-sex couples across the state to marry.
While some Alabama counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couple on that day, others—including Mobile County—did not, citing an “administrative order” by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, instructing probate judges not to comply with Judge Granade’s order. Today, Judge Granade ruled that Mobile County must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Learn more about the Strawser v. Strange case.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
[From a News Release]
As a member of the local clergy, it has been my honor to support the same-sex couples in the Mobile area. Today, I was present as we prayed for peace and guidance. I was present in the courtroom of Judge Granade. All those with the glbtqs group were very respectful, as were all the law enforcement who were present this whole week. Once Judge Granades’s ruling came down, there was jubilation all around. We all gathered at the license windows, which had been closed to all, and waited for Judge Davis to open them to the gay couples gathered there. It was history-making! Truly remarkable.