Thirteen Alabama counties have stopped
issuing marriage licenses rather than serve gay and lesbian couples.
The closures are a direct response to
the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down state bans on gay
marriage in all 50 states.
The Campaign for Southern Equality
(CSE), the Asheville, North Carolina-based LGBT rights group, on
Tuesday called on the counties to immediately reverse course.
“These closures are causing
unnecessary complications and burdens for any couple – gay or
straight – who seeks to marry in their home county,” said the
group's Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. “Why should a couple have to
drive for over an hour to get a marriage license? What if a couple
can't marry because they have an unreliable car, or they can't get
the time off work? We urge all counties in Alabama to immediately
begin issuing licenses to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”
Counties that have stopped issuing
marriage licenses include Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Choctaw, Clarke,
Cleburne, Covington, Crenshaw, Geneva, Houston, Marengo, Pike and
to CSE, the counties are home to an estimated 464 gay couples, 20
percent of which are raising children, and a majority have poverty
rates exceeding the state average of 18.6 percent.
Three days after the Supreme Court
handed down its landmark ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court issued an
administrative order strongly suggesting that county officials are
not bound by the high court's order.