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
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
“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.