Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Equality comes to Alabama

Last month, a Federal court declared the Alabama constitution's "bigot clause" unconstitutional and ordered that state to implement marriage equality. Today, the ruling came into effect. But this being Alabama, a state which prides itself on consistently being on the wrong side of history, it is being resisted:

Amid conflicting signals from federal courts and the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, some Alabama counties began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday in a legal showdown with echoes of the battles over desegregation in the 1960s.

In major county seats like Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville, same-sex couples lined up outside courthouses as they opened and emerged smiling after being wed.

At the Jefferson County Courthouse here, Judge Michael G. Graffeo of Circuit Court officiated, at times tearfully, at the civil wedding of Dinah McCaryer and Olanda Smith, the first to emerge from the crowd of same-sex couples on Monday morning. “I now pronounce Olanda and Dinah are married spouses, entitled to all rights and privileges, as well as all responsibilities, afforded and placed upon them by the State of Alabama,” Judge Graffeo said.

But in at least 50 of Alabama’s 67 counties, the county Probate Courts, which issue the licenses, were not giving them to gay and lesbian couples, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. Many probate court judges declined to grant any marriage licenses.

This is a state which outlawed interracial marriage and whose Governor personally stood in a doorway to block school integration. And it is once again earning its reputation as the most hick-arse backwards state in the USA.