Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Another Decision Invalidating Alabama's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

In Alabama last week, a federal district court took another step toward requiring all counties to issue licenses for same-sex marriages.  A federal district court had already issued an injunction against the attorney general and one state probate judge requiring them to issue marriage licenses to same sex-couples. (See prior posting.) Now in Strawser v. Strange (Doc. 122), (SD AL, May 21, 2015), the same federal district court permitted plaintiffs to turn the case into a class action against "all Alabama county probate judges who are enforcing or in the future may enforce Alabama’s laws barring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and refusing to recognize their marriages."  It also certified as a plaintiff class "all persons in  Alabama who wish to obtain a marriage license in order to marry a person of the same sex and to have that marriage recognized under Alabama law, and who are unable to do so because of the enforcement of Alabama’s laws prohibiting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and barring recognition of their marriages."

Then in a second opinion the same day, Strawser v. Strange (Doc. 123), (SD AL, May 21, 2015), the court again held that Alabama's marriage laws that prohibit and refuse to recognize same-sex marriages violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. It granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, but stayed it until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, expected within the next several weeks.  Christian Science Monitor reports on the decision.