Imagine trying to plan a wedding, only to find out that your right to marry has been placed in limbo.
That’s exactly what happened to two couples in Mobile County, Alabama last week after the Alabama Supreme Court effectively stopped local officials Alabama from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The one county that wasn’t covered in their order was Mobile County, but Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis refused to issue marriage licenses. Starting the day after the Alabama Supreme Court ruling he has denied licenses to both gay and straight couples.
On Friday, March 6 two couples – Julie & Dottie and April & Molly – went to pick up marriage licenses in Mobile County. They weren’t served.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruling is a direct challenge to several orders in favor of marriage equality by U.S. District Judge Callie Granade. Both the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay Granade’s original order, and marriage equality was supposed to go into effect statewide on February 9.
The state Supreme Court’s order halting marriages for gay couples came as a surprise to advocates, who see the move as violating the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution, which delineates that state judges are bound by the U.S. Constitution. Since it was interpreted that the Constitution guarantees marriage rights for same-sex couples in a federal jurisdiction covering Alabama, it follows that state judges and other officials must comply with that interpretation.
“Whenever state law conflicts with federal law, federal law wins,” David Kennedy, one of the attorneys in the case that struck down the marriage ban, told AL.com.
A group of legal organizations led by National Center for Lesbian Rights has petitioned to amend a federal lawsuit, making it class action. . . . → Read More: Mobile couples denied marriage license
On August 13, same-sex couples in nine counties across Mississippi will record their out-of-state marriage licenses at their local Chancery Court offices. Organized by the Campaign for Southern Equality, this statewide day of action for marriage equality will involve local couples recording their licenses in Amite, Desoto, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Lafayette, Lamar, Oktibbeha and Pearl River counties.
Meet the couples that will call for rights on Wednesday:
(Jena and Jennifer with their daughter)
(Pamela and Mary)
(Nathan and Paul)
. . . → Read More: Day of statewide action for marriage equality in Mississippi
On Monday the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The same day South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he would continue to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“Currently, South Carolina’s law remains intact,” said Mark Powell, a spokesman for S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson. “People should not rush to act or react until that time when a decision is made by the highest court in the land.”
Just two days later, five LGBT couples living in South Carolina went to the Probate Court in Greenville to apply for marriage licenses as part of the WE DO Campaign.
Supporters of the couples lined up around the block to walk to Probate Court with the couples.
North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia are all in the 4th Circuit and are now on the verge of marriage equality after Monday’s historic ruling.
This was Ivy and Misha’s third time applying for a marriage license in their home state of South Carolina. They do not want to travel out of state to be wed.
Ivy is a co-founder and the Program Director of Gender Benders, a grassroots social justice and support group working on trans* issues.
Supporters circled up outside Probate Court as clergy lead an interfaith blessing of the couples before they enter the building to apply for marriage licenses.
. . . → Read More: On Heels of 4th Circuit Ruling, LGBT Couples Apply for Marriage Licenses in Greenville, South Carolina
Keisha and Dericka knew that when they went to the McDowell County Register of Deeds’ Office this morning to request a marriage license as part of the WE DO Campaign, they would almost certainly be denied. What they didn’t expect, however, was that 150 counter-protestors would hold a rally on the courthouse lawn.
WE DO participants pray in front of the McDowell County Courthouse, where hundreds of anti-gay protestors had gathered.
With the sounds of condemnation in the background, the couple received a blessing from their minister, Rev. Christy Corna, who will officiate their wedding ceremony in September. They then proceeded to the Register of Deeds Office, hand-in-hand, followed by friends and supporters.
. . . → Read More: Gay couple’s courageous stand in Marion, North Carolina
During 2014, the Campaign for Southern Equality will offer at least 12 free Community Law Workshops (CLW). The goal of a CLW is to empower LGBT people in the South to protect our rights to the full extent possible under current laws.
CLWs take two forms: (1) community education sessions led by attorneys about special topics in LGBT law, such as name changes and family rights; and (2) legal clinics at which volunteer attorneys provide pro bono services. We are proud to collaborate with community partners and law firms to provide these free workshops.
Starting in June 2014, CSE is also excited to launch a partnership with the Freedom Center for Social Justice’s LGBTQ Law Center to jointly provide free health care power of attorney clinics at Pride celebrations across North Carolina.
Salisbury Pride (June 21, Salisbury, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. Gender Benders Summer Camp (July 18, Piedmont, SC); Name change & Health Care Power of Attorney offered Charlotte Black Gay Pride (July 19, Charlotte, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered. Charlotte Pride (August 16, Charlotte, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. Blue Ridge Pride (October 4, Asheville, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. Pride Winston-Salem (October 18, Winston-Salem, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center.
(Attorney Diane Walton leads a CLW in Gulfport, Mississippi.)
2014 Completed Community Law Workshops
Topic: Stand up for Equality When You File Your NC Taxes (February 5, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
Led by: Todd Greene, CPA of Brader Greene
Location: First Congregational UCC | 20 Oak Street, Asheville, NC, 28801
Description: Because of Amendment One, North Carolina is instructing married same-sex couples to . . . → Read More: Summer Schedule of Community Law Workshops