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.”