This week, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade handed down a ruling that same-sex couples in Alabama have the legal right to marry. This victory follows another ruling from the same Republican-appointed judge on Friday. That day, we all saw that the success of marriage equality in the South continued in Alabama—the reddest of red states.
Last Friday, Judge Granade ruled in Searcy v. Strange that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Alabama’s attorney general, Luther Strange, immediately filed a motion to stop enforcement of the judge's ruling. Two days later, the ruling was stayed temporarily for 14 days, so that the state may seek a longer stay through the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
But without an extension of those stays, gay and lesbian couples in Alabama could be able to wed beginning in mid-February. And if equality wins in Alabama, as it has elsewhere, the Heart of Dixie will be the 37th U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.
In response to the Alabama rulings, Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
"[The] victory in Alabama is the latest in a number of marriage wins from a bipartisan cascade of courts across the country, including in the deep South. When the first couples marry, their neighbors across Alabama will see that families are helped and no one is hurt. As we look forward to a nationwide ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, this tremendous momentum shows that America—all of America—is truly ready for the freedom to marry."