48 Alabama counties allow same-sex marriage

48+Alabama+counties+allow+same-sex+marriage

CW / Claire Whorton

Elizabeth Elkin

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Human Rights Campaign, 48 of 67 counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Eleven counties are not issuing licenses to same-sex couples, and 6 counties are refusing to issue any couple regardless if orientation. Two counties were slated to begin issuing licenses on Feb. 16 but did not.

Wednesday morning, HRC, a civil rights organization working towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, submitted a petition with more than 28,000 signatures to the Alabama Judicial Committee in Montgomery encouraging an ethics investigation of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

“Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a letter to probate judges urging them to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” said Ashley Jackson, state director of HRC Alabama. “There was a complaint asking for investigation because that was not something that he should have been doing.”

The petition was posted approximately two weeks ago on the HRC website for supporters to sign.

“We encouraged people to sign the petition and stand in solidarity with the LGBT and allies in Alabama,” Jackson said.

Tuscaloosa is among the counties issuing marriage licenses to 
all couples.

“Personally I am of the opinion that marriage has historically been a religion-based institution, and I believe that it should remain between a man and a woman,” said TJ Kory, a freshman majoring in finance. “As far as rights, however, our country has always prided itself on equality. I think that there should be a legal bond, such as a civil union, which would afford couples legal rights regardless of gender, and that this should be kept separate from the 
institution of marriage.”

Ryan Richardson, a sophomore majoring in theater, said he is a supporter of same-sex marriage.

“From a religious standpoint, I do understand why gay marriage is frowned upon,” he said. “However, from my own personal opinion, I don’t believe it is right to deny someone their right to marry 
whoever they love. Love is love.”

Luke Knight, president of Spectrum, a student group for LGBTQ and their allies, expressed confidence in the direction same-sex marriage in Alabama 
is heading.

“The number of counties that are refusing to grant licenses is steadily shrinking, and I do not think those counties will be able to hold out against marriage for much longer,” he said. “It seems to me that the state and the counties are not in a position to continue refusing to issue licenses contrary to the ruling of a federal judge.”

Knight said he hopes this is only one step of many to come in the right direction for equality.

“I think that the Supreme Court will rule this summer to make marriage equality the law of the land,” he said. “It seems likely that they will, and I hope they do, but I also hope that the nation as a whole doesn’t let LGBTQA+ activism end there. Once the marriage issue is settled, I hope that other legal protections, like employment and housing, can 
be implemented.”