A married lesbian couple has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Alabama's ban on gay marriage.

April and Ginger Aaron-Brush of Birmingham were married in Massachusetts in 2012 but the laws of Alabama prohibit the recognition of their marriage in their home state.

Eighty-one percent of voters in 2006 approved Amendment 774, an amendment to the Alabama Constitution which prohibits the state from recognizing gay couples with civil unions or marriage. In 1998, Governor Fob James, a Republican, signed a law defining marriage as a heterosexual union and prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

“The word marriage, in itself, brings validity and respect to any committed relationship,” April said in a statement. “One's marriage status shouldn't change simply by crossing state lines. Gay couples seek to be married for the very same reasons that opposite-sex couples choose to be married – love, honor and commitment.”

“There needs to be marriage equality in Alabama for the sake of family and security and family protection,” said Ginger.

The women are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Alabama.

In its filing, ACLU lawyers argue that Alabama's exclusion violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit, one of three aiming to derail the laws, asks the court to force the state to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples, who currently can marry in 19 states plus the District of Columbia.

According to an ACLU bio, the women met in 1997 through a mutual friend. They adopted a baby girl in 2007. April works at the Social Security Administration and Ginger is a tenured and decorated teacher.