Overcoming Opposition by State Officials, Gay Marriage Comes to Alabama

Shante Wolfe and Tori Sisson were the first same-sex couple to marry in Montgomery, Alabama on Monday. (Photo: AP)

Overcoming Opposition by State Officials, Gay Marriage Comes to Alabama

US Supreme Court rejects state's bid to stop issuing marriage licenses

Alabama became the latest state to allow gay marriage on Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court and probate judges in the state rejected efforts by Alabama officials to delay issuing licenses and performing weddings.

Early Monday morning, the Supreme Court struck down Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's attempt to delay gay marriages in the state until the high court takes up the issue at the national level next year. The bid was overturned in a 7-2 vote, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting.

Following the Supreme Court's decision, probate judges ignored an order from Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court to deny marrying same-sex couples, and began performing weddings and issuing marriage licenses.

"I want to thank everyone for finally giving us the chance to live our life like everybody else," said Joe Babin, who had lined up outside of a Birmingham courthouse to marry his partner, Clay Jones, according to the New York Times.

Judge Callie V. Granade of the Federal District Court in Alabama ruled in January that the ban on gay marriage in the state was unconstitutional, but held off on issuing an order until Monday to give the state time to appeal. Moore wrote in his Sunday night order that state judges were not bound to Granade's decision, but it was clear Monday morning that marriage equality had arrived.

"We are thrilled that the United States Supreme Court has denied the state's request to delay marriages between same-sex couples in Alabama," Ben Cooper, board chair of Equality Alabama, said on Monday. "Loving, committed couples in Alabama will finally see a long-awaited end to the harms and indignity of marriage discrimination. Now it's time to break out the wedding bells and join in the happiness of the first celebrations. We look forward to today being a historic, special day in our state. Alabama is ready for the freedom to marry."

Alabama is now the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage.

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