At Least 11 Alabama Counties Refuse to Comply With Marriage Equality


Kentucky clerk Kim Davis may still represent Southern resistance to marriage equality, but it's actually Alabama where same-sex couples are seeing the most aggression from public officials.

Eleven counties in Alabama have shut down all their marriage license offices so they can avoid issuing licenses to same-sex couples, reports LGBT advocacy group Campaign for Southern Equality. Officials in four additional counties — Coosa, Chambers, Crenshaw, and Lamar — have refused to tell the group if they are issuing licenses to same-sex couples. 

"Campaign for Southern Equality has repeatedly called Probate Court offices in each of these counties to ask a simple question: do you issue marriage licenses to gay couples," the organization said in a statement. "But answers have been elusive, as staff say they are unable to answer the question and cannot say when an answer will be available."

Alabama has had a year to get comfortable with the idea of marriage equality — U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade ruled January 23, 2015, that the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Six months later, the Supreme Court struck down all bans on marriage equality in the nation.

Same-sex couples though have been severly hindered by Roy Moore, the state's virulently antigay state Supreme Court chief justice. He has repeatedly stood in the way of marriage equality, including this month, when he ordered state probate judges to refuse licenses to same-sex couples. Moore claimed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling did not apply to Alabama. His order was ignored by many counties, though clearly not all. 

The 11 counties that have closed their marriage license offices are Autauga, Bibb, Choctaw, Clarke, Cleburne, Covington, Elmore, Geneva, Marengo, Pike, and Washington.