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Op-ed: Alabama Has Failed Its Gay Citizens Spectacularly

Op-ed: Alabama Has Failed Its Gay Citizens Spectacularly


It's been a roller coaster of victory and defeat for the distressed same-sex couples of Alabama.

I am Jim, and John is my husband. We were married last February 12 here in Mobile, Alabama, after many months of legal battles through the state and federal court system to get rid of the state's ban on marriage equality.

Since that day, the Alabama Supreme Court has taken upon itself to ignore the ruling and has stopped all same-sex marriages in the state. The court, along with Chief Justice Roy Moore and Attorney General Luther Strange, is breaking the law. This behavior is upsetting to us, our families, friends, and community. These forces have turned back the clock on progress in our state.

It's heart-wrenching to us and other gay and lesbian Alabamians to live in a state whose leaders openly defy the Constitution they swore to uphold when they took office. They are even using Christianity and religious freedom to justify their actions. Well, according to the Bible, they are not behaving like true Christians.

We are Christian. Our pastor married us. We attend church every Sunday, read the Bible for guidance, pray daily, and take care of our parents, friends, and each other, just like Jesus told us to do. We follow the Gospel by not judging others, helping loved ones and strangers in need, and respecting everyone.

We believe that our marriage reflects Christian values. We are humble, live within our means, take good care of our families, and respect one another and the commitment that we made to each other before God. If Attorney General Strange, Justice Moore, and the rest of the Alabama Supreme Court find our marriage threatening, they're obviously not looking at how they conduct their own lives.

We know that most Alabamians support us and other same-sex couples. Since our journey began, we have heard from many people in Mobile and across the state. They see that our marriage is much like theirs and share many things in common, especially our love for this state.

Alabama has come a long way since the reprehensible days of the 1950s and 1960s, and we don't want it to go back. Alabama needs to move forward. And the way forward is understanding that we all have many things in common and valuing our differences. Not by breaking the law or denying each other's inherent rights or marginalizing those who are different from us.

JAMES STRAWSER is the lead plaintiff in the federal lawsuit known as Strawser v. Strange, in which U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade in Januarystruck down Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage. In March the Supreme Court of Alabama ordered a stop to same-sex weddings in the state. Strawser, now represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, hopes marriage equality can resume in Alabama before the Supreme Court issues a ruling on a federal marriage equality case, which isn't expected until June.

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