A U.S. district judge struck down Alabama's ban on gay marriage after two Mobile women sued the state for refusing to recognize their California marriage. Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, who have been together almost 15 years, sought legal recourse after Alabama denied Searcy's petition to legally adopt the couple's 8-year-old son. Alabama refused the petition because the two were not legally married in Alabama.
They are ecstatic. They are over-the-top happy about the ruling," said Christine Cassie Hernandez, a lawyer representing the couple.
Hernandez said the couple expected to win in court, but they were surprised that the decision came down so soon.
[The judge enjoined the state] from enforcing the bans, raising the question of whether the gay and lesbian couples could begin seeking marriage licenses.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange quickly filed a motion Friday evening asking the judge to put the decision on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling.
Lawyers for the state argued there would be widespread confusion if "marriages are recognized on an interim basis that are ultimately determined to be inconsistent with Alabama law."
The judge declared the state's constitutional amendment called the "Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment," a violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the federal constitution. The bill was overwhelmingly popular in Alabama, it was approved by 81% of state voters in 2006.
And since Alabama really loved banning equal rights, cue outrage:
"It is outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Act," Republican Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard said in a statement. "The Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live."
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