A federal judge on Friday struck down Alabama's ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled that an Alabama law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and a similar constitutional amendment approved by 81 percent of voters in 2006 violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Plaintiffs in the case are a lesbian couple who have been together for over 15 years and married in California in September of 2008.

In 2005, Kimberly McKeand gave birth to the couple's son, K.S. In 2012, a state judge denied Cari Searcy's request to adopt K.S. Judge Don Davis determined that Searcy is not a “spouse” of McKeand. Alabama law provides that couples must be married in order to adopt their partner's children.

The women filed their suit last spring, asking Granade to recognize their California marriage so that Searcy may adopt K.S.

In her 10-page ruling, Granade, an appointee of President George W. Bush, rejected the state's argument that it “has a legitimate interest in protecting the ties between children and their biological parents and other biological kin.”

“The Attorney General does not explain how allowing or recognizing same-sex marriage between two consenting adults will prevent heterosexual parents or other biological kin from caring for their biological children,” she wrote. “He proffers no justification for why it is that the provisions in question single out same-sex couples and prohibit them, and them alone, from marrying in order to meet that goal.”

“In sum, the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama.”

David Kennedy, an attorney representing the women, applauded the ruling.
“We're obviously quite pleased with it,” he said. “It was the ruling that, frankly, we expected.”

A spokesman for the Alabama Attorney General's Office said in a statement that it will “ask for a stay of the court's judgment pending the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling which will ultimately decide this case.”