Alabama set to become 37th state to allow gay marriage
Alabama will Monday become the 37th US state where gays can legally wed unless the US Supreme Court orders a last-minute stay of a federal judge's decision overturning the state's ban on gay marriage.
Montgomery (US): Alabama will Monday become the 37th US state where gays can legally wed unless the US Supreme Court orders a last-minute stay of a federal judge's decision overturning the state's ban on gay marriage.
The ruling brings gay marriage to the Deep South and to a state considered one of the Bible Belt's most socially conservative. While gay marriage is now legal in much of the US, over half of the 14 states still enforcing bans on gay marriage were located in the South, a swath of resistance stretching from roughly Texas to Kentucky.
Couples are expected to seek marriage licenses at courthouses across Alabama tomorrow morning when the ruling by US District Judge Callie Granade overturning Alabama's ban goes into effect.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has asked the US Supreme Court to put aside the judge's order since justices are expected to decide the issue of gay marriage on a nationwide basis later this year. As of yesterday, the high court had not ruled on the request.
Joe Babin and Clay Jones have their rings and say everything is falling into place for their wedding tomorrow in downtown Birmingham the first day gay marriage will be legal in Alabamam marriage will .
"We knew we wanted to do it that day because it's such a huge day for gay rights. It's such a huge thing for Alabama to finally not be last in something that is progressive," said Babin.
The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions on Friday approved a resolution expressing "moral outrage, intense grief and strong disagreement over court rulings that have set our culture in a direction against the biblical definition of marriage."
"We likewise call upon Alabama Baptists to pray for our state and nation and to stand strong in support of biblical marriage as the only form that should be legal in Alabama and throughout our nation," Rick Lance, executive director, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said in a statement on Friday.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore urged probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, saying he does not think judges are compelled to issue the licenses.
Monroe County Probate Judge Greg Norris said he expects most probate judges to issue licenses, although at least one has said he will refuse until he gets greater clarity from the courts. However, several judges have said they will stop performing weddings altogether so they don't have to marry gay couples.
But Babin said he thinks people have an unfair view of the South. Rainbow flags advocating gay rights aren't an uncommon site in the residential areas of Birmingham's Southside neighborhood where the couple have a hair salon. Their families, including Jones' parents who are Baptist, are happy for them.