By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, February 3, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s (R) motion for a stay in Searcy v. Strange and Strawser v. Strange.
Last month, US District Judge Callie Granade struck down Alabama’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. Barring an unlikely stay from the US Supreme Court, probate judges across the State will have to issue marriage license to same-sex couples, beginning on Monday, February, 9, 2015.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a written statement, “I am disappointed in the 11th US Circuit Court’s decision not to stay the federal district court’s ruling. The confusion that has been created by the District Court’s ruling could linger for months until the US Supreme Court resolves this issue once and for all.”
AG Strange continued, “My office vigorously defended the constitutionality of Alabama’s marriage laws in the Searcy and Strawser cases, and we have appealed the court’s orders in those cases. Today, we filed a motion with the US Supreme Court to stay the federal court’s decision until the Supreme Court finally rules on the issue in June.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Alabama State Director Ashley Jackson said in a statement on Tuesday, “This confirms what we already knew—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 President and CEO of the conservative Alabama Policy Institute Caleb Crosby, said in a statement, “Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Alabama Attorney General’s request to temporarily halt the lower court’s strike down of Alabama’s Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act. As a research organization dedicated to the preservation of strong families, this comes as a great disappointment given that traditional marriage is central to this ideal. Further, as firm defenders of federalism, it is startling to see federal courts move so quickly to cast aside the desire of Alabamians to preserve traditional marriage in this State. In his dissent in US v. Windsor, Justice Alito wrote, ‘[I]n our system of government, ultimate sovereignty rests with the people and the people have the right to control their own destiny. Any change on a question so fundamental should be made by the people through their elected officials.’ We wholeheartedly agree and hope that the 11th Circuit will ultimately defer to the people of Alabama.”
US Representative Gary Palmer said in a statement, “I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, as do a large majority of the people of Alabama. The recent court decisions are troubling and disappointing. Unelected judges are achieving a political end that has been rejected by the electorate… I applaud Attorney General Luther Strange for appealing to the Supreme Court for a stay and hope that a stay is granted pending the resolution of the issue before the Supreme Court.”
HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said, “There is no justifiable reason to continue enforcing discriminatory marriage bans after a clear court order striking them down.”
In their statement, the HRC congratulated the plaintiffs in this case, Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, and their attorneys, Christine Hernandez and David Kennedy; as well as James Strawser and John Humphrey, recently joined in court by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, for all their work to achieve this victory in court.
The Human Rights Campaign states that they are, “America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.”