Apparently in anticipation of same-sex weddings starting on Monday, FEB-09, the state health department has created new marriage license forms to accommodate both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. The new forms have replaced the sections for "bride" and "groom" with two spaces labeled "spouse." Two boxes to indicate the gender of the spouses have been added to the form. 1
Curiously, the forms ask for each applicant to state their race. Perhaps, the government of Alabama wants to be able to easily track interracial couples in Alabama. In the future, if the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas is repealed, they would then find it easier to forcibly divorce all such couples. ("Lawrence" was the high court's decision in 1967 that forced many Southern states, including Alabama, to allow interracial couples to marry.)
2015-FEB-06: The anticipated financial impact on the state if marriage equality is implemented:
The Alabama Media Group published an article on the financial impact of same-sex marriage on Alabama as the result of marriage equality. State income taxe revenue and the amount that the state pays out in welfare are expected to be reduced. Sales tax revenue is expected to increase because of expenditures on marriage ceremonies, receptions. Also, tourist revenue would increase because of friends and family who travel from out of county and out of state to attend wedding ceremonies. Analysis of the financial impact in other states has found increased employment in the tourist industry, and increased state revenue.
Lee Badgett is an economics professor and research director of the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her research into other states that have attained marriage equality indicates:
"There is a moderate positive [financial] impact. It's certainly not the negative some people are concerned about."
Norris Green, director of the Legislative Fiscal Office, said
"I don't think it's much of a fiscal issue." 2
2015-FEB-06: Reactions by religious conservatives towards marriage equality:
The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (ABSBOM) unanimously approved a Resolution on Reaffirmation of Biblical Marriage. It expressed:
"... moral outrage, intense grief, and strong disagreement over court rulings that have set our culture in a direction against the biblical definition of marriage." 3
It states that:
"... even as the stay on a federal court ruling expires on February 9, we grieve over the abandonment of biblical marriage as the cornerstone of our society. ... We pray that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule in a way that will protect states such as Alabama where voters have by majority vote expressed support for biblical marriage only. In Alabama's case, the vote was an overwhelming majority."
Their resolution encourages Baptists in Alabama to:
"... offer prayer and personal support for those probate judges who, exercising their personal religious liberties, conscientiously object to the affirmation of the marriage of same sex couples; and … pray for those with whom we disagree, specifically those who advocate the abolition of biblical marriage as the only legally sanctioned form."
It encourages Alabama Baptists to:
"... commit to pray for the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who are expected this year to issue a landmark ruling that could abolish the sole legality of biblical marriage throughout our nation. ... We call for sincere repentance, earnest prayer and a commitment to seek God's face for a spiritual and moral awakening in America."
In reality, there is no single "biblical definition of marriage." There are at least eight types of marriages mentioned in the Bible. One common type of marriage, polyandry -- the marriage of one man to multiple women -- was discontinued almost two millennia ago. Numerous men in the Bible were described as having more than one wife. Solomon apparently holds the record with 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Rick Lance, ABSBOM executive director, said:
"We cannot speak out on every issue, but biblical marriage is foundational to our culture. Change marriage laws and you change culture. Erode family and marriage and you erode the society in which we live. ... We contend that the biblical definition of marriage is what we believe and we will try to do our very best to make sure Alabama Baptists have a voice out in the public." 4
2015-FEB-06 & 07: Christians hold prayer meetings to show opposition to marriage equality:
Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) describes themselves as "... an interdenominational ministry that, working together with the churches of Alabama, serves as 'Alabama’s moral compass'." 5 They are a conservative Christian group. On the morning of FEB-06, they sponsored a prayer event on steps of the Alabama State House in Montgomery. AL.
None of the local media seem to have recorded the number of people who turned out at the event.
Before the meeting, Joe Godfrey, executive director of ALCAP, said:
"As Christians, we need God's leadership on how to deal with this, whether same-sex marriages are legalized or not. The issue is not going to go away." 6
He also commented:
"Other pastors and community leaders have all agreed that this has happened a lot faster than they expected. ... We don't see it as a Civil Rights issue. We see it as a moral issue. ... We want to show the love of Christ without compromising our convictions." 7
He appears to imply that individuals can assess the will of God through prayer. During 2003, the folks at the ReligiousTolerance.org web site conducted a study to test this belief. About 90 visitors to the web site who had active prayer life participated. Although it was only a pilot study involving relatively few subjects. the results of the study seem to show conclusively that prayer is ineffective when used to assess the will of God.
Another prayer meeting was sponsored by the Foundation for Moral Law on FEB-07. It only attracted about 50 demonstrators and a smaller number of counter-protestors. 8
In an article on the status of same-sex marriages in Alabama, Kim Chandler of the Associated Press wrote:
"Pastor Franklin D. Raddish of South Carolina, who led a prayer vigil against same-sex marriage at the Alabama Capitol, urged Southerners to refuse to recognize the marriages that he called 'from the devil’s hell'."
It is unclear from the article to which prayer event Pastor Raddish attended. 9
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Alabama designs new marriage license forms to accommodate gay unions," ABC News, 2015-FEB-05, at: http://www.abc3340.com/
- Brendan Kirby, "Gay marriages in Alabama could (slightly) improve state's finances, experts say," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.al.com/
- Kim Chandler, "Alabama Set to Become 37th State to Allow Gay Marriage," ABC News, 2015-FEB-07, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
- "Ala. Baptists grieved over marriage rulings," Baptist Press, 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.bpnews.net/
- "Who is ALCAP?" Alabama Citizens Action Program, undated, at: http://alcap.com/
- "Christians who oppose marriage equality have gathered to pray at Alabama state house," The slowly boiled frog, 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com/
- Carol McPhail, "Christians opposing same-sex marriage to pray Friday on steps of Alabama State House," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-06, at: http://www.al.com/
- "ALABAMA: Meager turn out for hate rally on steps of State Capital building," Joe My God, 2015-FEB-07, at: http://joemygod.blogspot.com/
- Kim Chandler, "Same-sex marriages to begin in Alabama. Barring a court stay, state will be 37th to end ban," Boston Globe, 2015-FEB-08, at: http://www.bostonglobe.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2015-FEB-03
Latest update: 2015-FEB-08
Author: B.A. Robinson