[JURIST] After same-sex couples were turned away from some marriage license offices in Alabama Monday, attorneys sought a declaration from a federal judge on Tuesday to order local officials to issue the marriage licenses. The request was made on behalf of more than 10 couples [Washington Post report] after a majority of probate judges in the state closed their offices on Monday, rather than issuing the licenses. Monday was supposed to mark the first day [NPR report] of legalized same-sex marriage in Alabama, making it the thirty-seventh state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed. Local authorities in 52 of 67 Alabama counties are defying [NYT report] a federal court ruling [JURIST report] issued nearly three weeks prior that determined same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional in the state. Hundreds of same-sex couples were able to obtain marriage licenses on Monday, but the attorneys hope for a quick resolution to the stalemate so more couples may have their unions legally recognized. The plaintiffs’ attorneys are expected to present their argument before Judge Callie VS Granade of the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official website] on Thursday.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] continues to be one of the most polarizing legal topics in the US today. On Monday Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court refused to extend [Alabama AG press release] a two-week stay [JURIST report] on the federal judge’s ruling that held same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in the state. Last week the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit declined to further stay a lower court’s ruling that overturned Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. On January 25 Judge Granade placed the two-week stay [JURIST report]. On January 23 the Southern District of Alabama struck down [JURIST report] the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act [text], ruling them unconstitutional.