Federal judge says ruling striking down Alabama's gay marriage ban applies statewide

Fri. May 22, 2015 10:06 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry in all 67 Alabama counties.

However, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade put her ruling on hold until the Supreme Court rules in a case challenging gay marriage bans in four states: Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky. A decision is expected next month.

Granade struck down Alabama's ban in two rulings issued in January. Gay couples began exchanging vows in the state after the Supreme Court refused to stay her ruling.

The Alabama Supreme Court intervened, ordering probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, saying that the judge's order was limited to plaintiffs in the case.

Plaintiffs sought a class-action status that would include all gay couples in Alabama who wish to marry and to expand defendants in the case to include all of the state's probate judges.

In making her ruling, Granade recognized the Alabama Supreme Court's contradictory order.

"It is true that if this Court grants the preliminary injunction the probate judges will be faced with complying with either Alabama's marriage laws that prohibit same-sex marriage as they have been directed by the Alabama Supreme Court or with complying with the United States Constitution as directed by this Court. However, the choice should be simple. Under the Supremacy Clause, the laws of the United States are 'the supreme Law of the Land,'" she wrote.

(Brief provided by Equality Case Files)


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