Since Judge Callie V. S. Granade ruled the same-sex marriage laws of Alabama unconstitutional, the stay for Alabama’s same-sex marriage law was put into place. Turmoil began Feb. 9, when the Supreme Court refused to block Granade’s ruling, permitting Alabama courts to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore stepped up the day before Alabama courts could issue same-sex marriage licenses and told judges across the state not to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Judges in every county had to make a decision of which ruling to abide by. Because of this, many judges have felt the freedom to follow their own moral stance, whether in favor of or against gay and lesbian couples marrying.
Washington, Marion, Shelby, Cleburne and Clay counties are all offering licenses only to heterosexual couples. Bibb, Choctaw, Clarke, Coosa, Cullman, Geneva, Houston, Pike, Randolph, Tallapoosa and Walker are not giving out any marriage licenses at all. Every other county is offering licenses for same-sex marriage.
It is still unclear what will happen to those refusing to issue marriage licenses.
In the mean time, those wishing to marry, but unable in their own county, are travelling to outside counties where they can legally marry.
Already, a handful of UM alumni have married because of the recent turn of events. Alumnus Morgan Hamrick and his husband Jacob Garris went to the courthouse in Tuscaloosa County as soon as they were able to on Monday. “I am just so thankful Alabama is catching up with the rest of the country. I freely expressed my love, but now I know I can have the same rights as any other spouse when it comes to medical issues and any other legal concerns. I know that my marriage is finally recognized by the state of Alabama and that is validating,” said Hamrick.
Quincy Hall, a senior at the university, says he was already looking at having to move out of state if he ever wanted to pursue marriage. “I just never thought it would happen in this state,” said Hall. “I feel like the government is finally saying that I, too, am a person. I am so glad this happened here because a part of me feels like saying I would move out of the state would have been a cop out. There are still people here who need those rights like I do. Leaving would be putting the issue behind me and never addressing it for those who would have come after me,” said Hall.
While there seems to be overwhelming favoritism on the subject, some students are still not supportive of same-sex marriage. One student who opposes the issue says he does not want to come across bigoted, but morally disagrees with the concept. “I am happy for my friends to have the same rights as myself, but morally speaking, I disagree with it,” he said.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and the Alabama Supreme Court have yet to readdress the issue together. No word is out on when a federal ruling will be made regarding the Alabama judges refusing to issues licenses or Moore’s sudden ruling. Legal experts Phillip Jauregi and Nicholas Beckham predict the issue will lie dormant with the SCOTUS for a while because people are now able to receive same-sex marriage licenses in Alabama. There is no scheduled time for it to be addressed further.