After a brief hearing on Thursday, a
federal judge ordered Mobile County in Alabama to begin issuing
marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Plaintiffs in the case are four gay
couples who were unable to obtain marriage licenses in Mobile on
Monday, the first day that two rulings striking down Alabama's ban on
gay marriage took effect.
On Sunday, Alabama Chief Justice Roy S.
Moore ordered probate judges to defy the rulings when they take
effect and refuse to issue such licenses to gay couples.
Judge Don Davis was among the majority
of probate judges who followed Moore's directions.
“If Plaintiffs take all steps that
are required in the normal course of business as a prerequisite to
issuing a marriage license to opposite-sex couples, Judge Davis may
not deny them a license on the ground that Plaintiffs constitute
same-sex couples or because it is prohibited by the Sanctity of
Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act or by any
other Alabama law or Order pertaining to same-sex marriage,” U.S.
District Callie “Ginny” Granade wrote in her eight-page
Plaintiffs were represented in part by
the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“Today's ruling by Judge Granade
provides clear direction to Judge Davis and other probate judges and
will help ensure that all same-sex couples in Alabama, regardless of
where they live, have the freedom to marry,” said Shannon Minter,
legal director at NCLR.
According to a tweet from Southern
Equality, plaintiffs Robert Povilat and Milton Persinger (pictured)
were the first gay couple to receive a marriage license in Mobile