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Civil rights groups call on federal judge to make marriage equality legal in Alabama

Civil rights groups call on federal judge to make marriage equality legal in Alabama

Four US civil rights organizations are asking a federal judge to order all of Alabama’s probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Southern Poverty Law Center filed a motion with District Judge Callie Granade.

She is the same jurist who ruled, in January, the state’s  marriage equality ban is unconstitutional.

While the majority of probate judges followed the decision, a  few refused. Earlier this week, the state’s Supreme Court ordered the judges to cease officiating weddings for LGBTI couples.

‘Fair-minded people of Alabama don’t want obstruction,’ David Dinielli, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement announcing the motion.

‘They want progress. Couples in all 67 counties of this state should have the freedom to marry,’ he continued. ‘The United States Constitution protects all of us, including those in Alabama, no matter the opinion of the Alabama Supreme Court.’

Alabama has 67 counties and, according to numbers from Freedom to Marry, 50 were offering certificates to gay applicants.

In the US southern state, probate judges are in charge of issuing marriage licenses.

The motion is part of a lawsuit filed by five same-sex couples seeking Mobile County to adhere to the federal judge’s ruling. The motion seeks class-action status for all LGBTI couples in the state that wish to marry.

‘Alabama couples deserve the security and protection that marriage provides,’ Shannon Minter, NCLR’s legal director, said in a statement.

‘We hope that the court will act quickly to provide certainty to couples throughout the state and establish once and for all that Alabama’s same-sex couples have the freedom to marry.’