The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today refused a request from the state of Alabama to stay a decision that would grant marriage equality throughout the state. With it, and barring an intervention from the Supreme Court, marriage will be open to same-sex couples beginning February 9.

In a press release, Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director Ashley Jackson expressed a sentiment shared among many marriage equality advocates in the state and beyond.

"This confirms what we already knew," she said, "that LGBT Alabamians have the constitutional right to marry, regardless of who they love. The time has come for loving and committed couples from Florence and Huntsville to the Gulf Coast to be able to marry in the state they call home"

The decision comes just one day after the state's attorney general office argued that Alabama "would be thrown into confusion and conflict" if the stay were denied. "Absent a stay," they wrote, "any same-sex marriages that are recognized by any official in Alabama will be subject to dispute and challenge."

Specifically, the state argued for a stay for these reasons:

  • the state is likely to win on appeal
  • the state would suffer "irreparable harm" if gay marriages begin
  • a delay would not hurt the plaintiffs
  • the judge failed to follow the precedent of a 1972 case that the high court allowed to take effect upholding a decision to deny a same-sex marriage

Regarding the "confusion and conflict" argument: earlier there were a number of probate judges who argued the decision doesn't apply to them. Judge Calie Granade, who made the original ruling, subsequently clarified it, saying the decision applies to them.

Alabama Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roy Moore, who did not oversee the decision regarding this stay — though we are familiar with him — is pretty hardcore anti-marriage equality, FYI.




graphic, a photo of the Alabama plaintiffs, via 

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