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Religious Tolerance logo

Recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality

Part 26: Alabama: 2015-FEB:

Affects of SSM on the Alabama culture
Anticipated effects of married same-sex couples.
Governor Bentley under fire from conservatives.

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In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. Also, "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community.
PC(USA) refers to the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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LGBT symbol Concerning the effects of the LGBT community on marriage and the family if same-sex couples are able to marry:

In the United States, some heterosexuals, gays, lesbians and bisexuals remain single. The rest pick one other adult and marry them, making a family of two adults plus any children they might bring into the family, plus any children they might have together during their marriage.

  • Most couples formed of one woman and one man -- whether one or both are heterosexual or bisexual -- are able to conceive babies through their own efforts.
    A minority are infertile and generally use artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, or a surrogate mother to bear a child.

  • Couples formed of two woman -- whether one or both are homosexual or bisexual --are intrinsically infertile are unable to conceive babies through their own efforts. They require artificial insemination, or in-vitro fertilization to bear children.

  • Couples formed of two men -- whether one or both are homosexual or bisexual --are also intrinsically infertile are unable to conceive. They require a surrogate mother to bear children.

The vast majority of persons who have a transgender or transsexual gender identity simply identify themselves as having a gender different from the gender that they were identified as at birth.

  • A male to female transgender adult was registered as a male at birth, and now identifies as female. Most have either a heterosexual orientation and are attracted to men only, or a homosexual orientation and be attracted to women only, or a bisexual orientation and attracted to both men and women. Many marry as described above.

  • A female to male transgender adult was identified as female at birth, and now identifies as male. They may have either a heterosexual orientation and be attracted to women only, or a homosexual orientation and be attracted to men only, or a bisexual orientation and attracted to both men and women. Many marry as described above.

Unfortunately, many religious and social conservatives have a very different concept of transgender persons and transsexuals. They regard everyone's gender as having been permanently identified at birth. If a person is registered as a male at birth and now identifies as a female, conservatives often say that they are merely "gender confused," and are actually male. Many suggest that they undergo counseling to restore their gender identity to what it was at birth. The success rate for counseling of transgender persons to reverse their gender identity is believed by many human sexuality specialists to be zero. Their suicide rate is enormous. However, many undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to modify their appearance to more closely match their gender identity.

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2015-FEB-21: Chief Justice Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court comments further on SSMs (same-sex marriage) (Cont'd):

  • Chief Justice Moore said:

    "I can't move from my position because I'm bound to uphold the Constitution." 1

    Unfortunately, it is not clear whether he is referring to the state Constitution of Alabama or to the federal Constitution of the United States. His oath of office requires that he be bound by both.

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2015-FEB-22: Webmaster's comment about the anti-SSM demonstration and other reports in the media (bias alert):

A recurring theme on the posters and in the speeches among the demonstrators at the state capital is that 81% of Alabamians voted in 2006 to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and that this vote should define marriage for all time -- or at least until it is specifically modified or repealed by the voters. On FEB-07, the group that sponsored the demonstration -- Sanctity of Marriage Alabama (SOMA) -- posted a message on their Facebook page:

"We stand with 81% of Alabamians who voted in 2006 for the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment."

To which I posted a response on their Facebook page during FEB-22:

"There are 300 million Americans. If all but one of them voted to deny a fundamental human right like marriage to a single individual, their vote would still be unconstitutional."

Unfortunately, this comment was deleted by a SOMA page administrator.

My belief is that human rights are absolute, and are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. They are not to be voted upon. To allow the public to decide who will get a full set of civil rights and who will be denied certain rights is called the "Tyranny of the Majority." That was a major concern of the founding fathers. Voting on a state constitutional amendment about marriage merely shows how popular or despised a group is by the general population.

Another recurring theme found in the writings of Alabama's political and religious conservatives is the belief that the rulings by District Judge Callie V.S. "Ginny" Granade of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama represent only the opinions of one person. Conservatives feel that a single judge should not be permitted to declare the anti-SSM amendment to the Alabama Constitution -- which was passed by 81% of the voters -- unconstitutional. However, her ruling and her subsequent two week stay were upheld by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, Judges in over 40 other District Courts elsewhere in the U.S. have ruled in almost identical cases and have also found state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Those courts based their decisions on the same grounds as Judge Granade in Alabama used: the Due Process and/or Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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2015-FEB-25: Governor Bentley comes under fire for obeying the U.S. Constitution instead of the Alabama Constitution:

Governor Robert Bentley (R) was heavily criticized within Alabama for following his oath of office which includes a promise to follow both the federal and state Constitutions. This has produced a confusing situation because:

  • The state Constitution clearly calls for a ban on same-sex marriage, even as

  • According to dozens of rulings by state and federal courts since mid-2013 when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Windsor v. United States, the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment in the federal Constitution calls for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Fortunately, Article 6, Clause 2 of the federal Constitution -- often referred to as the "Supremacy Clause" -- resolves the confusion about which Constitution should be followed in this case. This clause establishes the U.S. constitution as "the supreme law of the land." The Supremacy Clause:

"... mandates that all state judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either a state constitution or state law of any state. 2

Unfortunately, the states' rights movement which was very active throughout the Deep South during the desegregation crisis in the mid-20th century is still quite active in Alabama today.

Governor Bentley did say that he was personally opposed to marriage equality. In spite of this belief, a few days before before the temporary District Court's stay on its decision for same-sex marriage terminated on FEB-09, he issued a statement, saying:

"We will follow the rule of law in Alabama, and allow the issue of same sex marriage to be worked out through the proper legal channels." 3

But some Alabamians seem to feel that that was not enough. They were probably recalling the time a half century ago when former Governor George Wallace disobeyed the action of the U.S. Supreme Court by standing in front of a door University of Alabama trying to block the registration of two black students and hold back racial integration.

In late February, Bentley said:

"I think it's important for the people across the country to realize that the governor of Alabama today is not the governor of Alabama 50 years ago." 4

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Daily KOS Group, "You Won't Believe Roy Moore's Answer As To Why He's Not Like George Wallace," 2015-FEB-24, at: http://www.dailykos.com/
  2. "Supremacy Clause," Wikipedia, as on 2015-FEB-22, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. "Gov. Robert Bentley won't take action against probate judges issuing same-sex marriage licenses," Alabama Media Group, at: 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.al.com/
  4. Leada Gore, "Gov. Bentley's pastor wants him to fight feds on same-sex marriage, even if they 'drag us to jail'," Alabama Media Group, at: 2015-FEB-26, at: http://www.al.com/
  5. David Tulis, "Do we need more leadership of Gov. Bentley, Supt. Daniels type? Hardly," Nooganomics, 2015-FEB-25, at: http://nooganomics.com/

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    Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Alabama > here

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2015-FEB-22
Latest update: 2015-MAR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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