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Capital of Alabama Elects First Black Mayor; Once Defied Roy Moore

Steven Reed

The first probate judge in Alabama to issue same-sex marriage licenses will now be the first Black mayor of Montgomery.

Judge Steven Reed on Tuesday won a runoff election over local TV station owner David Woods, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. Unofficial final results show a landslide victory of 32,918 to 16,010.

It’s a landmark moment in a major Southern city and the birthplace of the civil rights movement. The majority of residents in Montgomery are Black.

"This election has never been about me," Steven Reed said. "This election has never been about just my ideas. It's been about all the hopes and dreams we have as individuals and collectively in this city."

Reed in 2012 also became the first Black man elected as a Montgomery County probate judge, who among other duties are in charge of issuing marriage licenses.

In that position, he made LGBTQ history in Alabama. After the Supreme Court ruled marriage equality the law of the land in 2015, Reed issued the first licenses in the Yellowhammer State.

And he notably did so in defiance of a court order by then-Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ordered judges not to issue licenses. Moore was ultimately removed from the bench over the order.

Reed at the time said he knew Moore was stepping outside his state judicial role in the order, so he ignored the directive.

“For the chief justice to take that position, that was really something beyond the scope of his jurisprudence," Reed told the USA Today. "For myself, it's doing the right thing. It's doing what I took an oath to do."

Montgomery was one of only three major cities in the Deep South to not yet elect a Black mayor, the Advertiser notes.

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