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Recognition of gay marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality in Alabama


Alabama resists moves towards marriage equality:
U.S. District Court rulings legalize SSMs. Alabama
Supreme Court orders end to SSMs. Chaos reigns.
Religious freedom ends when minister is arrested.
Bill introduced to do away with marriage licenses.

U.S. Supreme Court issued ruling on 2015-JUN-26
legalizing gay marriage throughout the entire U.S.

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In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. These terms are preferable
because it is inclusive of same-sex marriages that include one or two bisexuals. However, our
use of "gay marriage" improves access to this web site.In addition, "LGBT" refers to the
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community.

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wedding ringsSome quotations illustrating opposing points of view about marriage for same-sex couples: 1

bullet "Homosexuality is an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent. ... [Homosexuality] is abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature." by Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, who played a major role in creating conflict and slowing down Alabama's transition to marriage equality. 2

bullet ‚€œ... Gay marriage won't lead to [human-] dog marriage. It is not a slippery slope to rampant inter-species coupling. When women got the right to vote, it didn't lead to hamsters voting. No court has extended the equal protection clause to salmon. And for the record, all marriages are ‚€œsame sex‚€ marriages. You get married, and every night, it's the same sex.‚€ by Bill Maher, New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer

bullet ‚€œSocial conservatives seem to see a bigger threat to marriage from committed gay couples who want in on it than from straight ones who opt out of it.‚€
by Margaret Talbot

bullet ‚€œSame sex marriage is not an expression of human right but human wrong. Any nation that rationalizes same sex marriage as an expression of human right has lost control of the territorial integrity of its citizens' rights, and such nation should someday be ready to accept terrorism as an expression of human right.‚€
by Syllabus Onajobi, Pregnancy Poems Collection: A Gift Book

bullet "A loving man and woman in a committed relationship can marry. Dogs, no matter what their relationship, are not allowed to marry. How should society treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships? As dogs or as humans?" A posting to an Internet mailing list; used by permission of the author.

bulletOpposing predictions circa 2004-MAY-17, when Massachusetts became the first state where same-sex couples were able to obtain marriage licenses:
bullet "If May 17 comes and you have the same reaction in the homosexual community that you had in San Francisco, then this is going to become a Dunkirk for marriage in America. Like that great crisis on the shores of France, it isn't the end of marriage, it isn't the end of one man, one woman [marriage], but it's a major loss." Rev. Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition."

bullet "When the dust settles, we'll see that no one is hurt, families are helped, gays did not use up all the marriage licenses, and there's enough marriage to share," Evan Wolfson, head of Freedom to Marry . 1

Fortunately, Rev. Sheldon's very eloquent prediction did not come true. In early 2015, almost 11 years later, Massachusetts remained among a group of six states with the lowest divorce rate in the nation: 6 or 7 per 1000 marriages per year. In comparison, Alabama is among a group of five states with the highest divorce rate in the U.S.: 13 or 14 per 1000 marriages per year. 3

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US map with Alabama highlighted

U.S. Map with Alabama highlighted.

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Topics covered in this section:

  • Alabama's journey towards marriage equality: Introduction and timeline

  • During 2006 & 2014:
    • Part 1: The state's SSM bans. Lawsuit filed to repeal the bans.

  • During 2015-JAN:

    • Part 2: Marriage equality arrives, sort of. Alabama Probate Judges Association refuses to acknowledge District Court ruling. State requests 6 month stay.

    • Part 3: District Court ruling stayed for 2 weeks. Reactions. Plaintiffs hold press conference.

    • Part 4: Press conference (Cont'd). State appeals case to 11th Circuit Court. State Rep. Patricia Todd plays hard ball. Second couple permitted to marry. Chief Justice Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court believes District Court ruling invalid. Confusion.

    • Part 5: Moore interferes (Cont'd). Current status. District Court issues clarification. Judges' association reverses stance.

    • Part 6: Moore continues support for SSM bans. Southern Poverty Law Center files ethics complaint against Chief Justice Moore.

    • Part 7: Plaintiffs ask Circuit Court to let the stay expire. Trial lawyers group criticize Chief Justice Moore. Governor asks 11th Circuit Court to extend stay."NOM" supports Chief Justice Moore's stand. Freedom to Marry starts TV ad campaign.

  • During 2015-FEB:

    • Part 8: Freedom to Marry's TV ad campaign (Cont'd). Results of public opinion polls. 11th Circuit Court refuses to extend stay. Marriage equality may arrive in Alabama on FEB-09.

    • Part 9: District Court judge refuses to terminate stay. Madison County lacks resources to marry couples.

    • Part 10: Governor Bentley issues statement. Chief Justice Moore issues another letter. State officers file briefs with Supreme Court.

    • Part 11: New marriage license forms created. Expected financial impact of marriage equality. Reactions to SSM by religious conservatives.

    • Part 12: Full marriage equality arrived in AL on FEB-09, but only in some counties. Chief Justice Moore orders probate judges to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    • Part 13: Chief Justice Moore issues a surprise order (Cont'd). Reactions.
    • Part 14: 2015-FEB-09: U.S. Supreme Court refuses to extend stay. Alabama became the 38th state with marriage equality (temporarily).
      Some couples had to drive to another county.

    • Part 15: Analysis of evangelical statement about SSM. Couples get licenses, sometimes in other counties. Good & bad reactions to marriage equality.

    • Part 16: Marriage equality has arrived but marriage licenses are often inconvenient to obtain.

    • Part 17: A Washington Post video. Lawsuit against a Mobile County probate judge. National Organization for Marriage makes appeal

    • Part 18: Marriage license availability in various counties. Comments from the Governor and public. Chief Justice Moore receives KKK support

    • Part 19: Editorial in The Plain Dealer. Reader comments. 1st Alabama same-sex marriage by SBC pastor!

    • Part 20: First same-sex marriage ceremony solemnized. Probate judges mainly obeying District Court in the midst of chaos

    • Part 21: More probate judges obey the District Court. Anti-SSM petition to the state Supreme Court. Politicians & religious leaders respond to SSM

    • Part 22: More politicians & religious leaders respond to SSM. A Presbyterian Church presbytery votes on SSM. Southern Baptist Convention advocates obedience to laws favoring same-sex marriage

    • Part 23: Chief Justice Roy Moore may refuse to obey the U.S. Supreme Court. Where licenses are available. Anti-equality demonstration at State Capitol

    • Part 24: Anti-SSM demonstration at State Capitol (Cont'd). 2nd presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA)ratifies a same-sex marriage resolution. Chief Justice Moore comments further on SSM

    • Part 25: Human Rights Campaign rally. Journalist Lee Daniels comments on SSM. 3rd presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) votes on a SSM resolution

    • Part 26: Affects of SSM on the Alabama culture. Chief Justice Moore comments further on SSM. Governor Bentley comes under fire

  • During 2015-MAR to JUL:

    • Part 27: Gov. Bentley comes under fire (Cont'd). Alabama Supreme Court issues orders end to marriage licenses for same-sex couples

    • Part 28: Reactions to the Alabama Supreme Court's order

    • Part 29: Still more reactions.

    • Part 30: "Freedom to Discriminate" bill introduced to Alabama Legislature. Reactions to the bill.
    • Part 31: Marriage licenses are now unavailable to same-sex couples. Chief Justice Roy Moore delivers speech. New class action motion filed in District Court.

    • Part 32: New class action filed in District Court (Cont'd). Attorney General asks for delay. Alabama Supreme Court issues order to Probate Judge.

    • Part 33: AL Supreme Court issues order to Probate Judge (Cont'd). Stalemate. Probate Judge petitions District Court.

    • Part 34: 2015-MAR to MAY: Probate Judge submits petition to state court. Presbyterian Church U.S.A. accepts SSM. Redundant bill introduced to allow judges and clergy to discriminate if they wish.

    • Part 35: 2015-MAY: Freedom of speech & religion suspended in Alabama: A member of the clergy was arrested trying to marry a lesbian couple. U.S. District Court issues new ruling legalizing SSM across Alabama. Ruling is temporarily stayed.

    • Part 36: 2015-MAY: U.S. District Court issues new ruling (Cont'd). Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore recommends impeachment of some U.S. Supreme Court justices.

    • Part 37: 2015-JUN: Current status of SSM. SSM polls in Alabama. Two bills introduced in the Alabama Legislature, to preserve marriage inequality, fail.

    • Part 38: Legislation to eliminate marriage licenses (Cont'd). In 2015-JUN-26, The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the entire U.S. Chief Justice Moore resists. Confusion reigns for a while.

    • Part 39: Confusion over gay marriage in Alabama appears to be dissipating. Same-sex couples are routinely marrying.

  • During 2016:

    • Part 40: Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore attempts to terminate gay marriage in Alabama, and is largely ignored. Marriage licenses remain available to all qualified couples.

    • Part 41: Alabama Supreme Court issues ruling. Media disagree on its contents and impact.

    • Part 42: Same-sex couples are able to marry througout Alabama, with some effort. Chief Justice Moore is tried and suspended from office.

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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. Some quotes copied, with thanks, from web site at:
  2. Michelangelo Ignorable, "Meet Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Who Isn't About to Give Up His Anti gay Crusade," Huffington Post, 2015-FEB-09, at:
  3. "Compare divorce and family laws," Find the Data, 2015, at:

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

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2015-JAN-29
Latest update: 2015-JUL-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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