Future of same-sex marriage remains uncertain in Alabama

Future of same-sex marriage remains uncertain in Alabama

Same sex couples wait in line for marriage licenses. Photo Courtesy of Justin Barnett

Elizabeth Elkin

Same-sex marriage has caused a serious debate in the state of Alabama over the last few months.

According to a press release by the Human Rights Campaign, as of April 13, no counties in Alabama are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Sixty-three counties are only issuing licenses to straight couples. Four counties, Pike, Mobile, Dallas and Coosa, are not issuing licenses 
to anyone.

In the same press release, HRC Vice President of Communications and Marketing Fred Sainz said Alabamians should not ignore the fact that marriage equality is not 
accessible in the state.

“We are confident that the United States Supreme Court will be on the right side of history and affirm all same-sex couples have the legal right to marry,” he said.

Meredith Bagley, assistant professor of sports communication and faculty advisor for UA Spectrum, said she hopes the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage in June.

“At the core, marriage should be a fully federal right,” she said.

Bagley expressed disappointment in the state’s leadership in a time of uncertainty.

“When I disengage my personal interest in the question and look at it as an observer, I see a lot of chaos and I see a lot of cowardice,” she said. “I just think it’s poor form for the state Supreme Court to put the probates on the spot to figure it out. Some of those probates were very sincerely torn. I don’t think any of our state leadership did a very impressive job.”

Bagley said she was both surprised and not surprised by the sudden halt of same-sex marriages in Alabama.

“It’s easy to say we’re not surprised because Alabama is a conservative state,” she said. “However, it is a little surprising to me that the state leadership let it get this out of hand. No other state has fought it in this kind of way, and lots of states have fought it. We are the only state to have a sitting state Supreme Court justice outwardly, brazenly violate a federal court order. That is not good for the state.”

Bagley encouraged people to engage in discussions about the topic with their friends and families.

“We don’t always let young people speak up,” she said. “We aren’t doing a very good job listening to people.”

She also encouraged people who are uncomfortable with same-sex marriage to spend time at the probate offices if same-sex marriage 
becomes legal.

“It’s really moving and fun,” Bagley said. “It’s sort of boring in a very empowering sort 
of way.”

Bagley said this was what it was like when she and her wife went to get their 
marriage license.

“It was really nice and lovely, but it was also like the recognition of your mundanity, just walking in and 
getting a license,” she said.

On April 28, the Supreme Court will debate the issue of same-sex marriage in Ohio. There will be a candlelight vigil on the UA campus near Denny Chimes that night at 7:30 p.m. The U.S. Supreme Court will make its final decision on same-sex marriage in June.

Laura LePere, a freshman majoring in finance, expressed support for same-sex marriage in the state.

“Personally, I believe that gay marriage should be legal,” she said. “Love is love. Everyone should be able to marry the person that they love regardless 
of gender.”