Federal Judge Puts Temporary Hold on Same-Sex Marriage Decision

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Alabama same-sex couples who hoped to get marriage licenses today will have to wait at a few more weeks to see if the state will legally recognize their relationships. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade ruled in favor of a lesbian couple from Mobile who are legally married in California. The judge said Alabama violated the couple’s constitutional rights when the state didn’t allow one woman to adopt the other’s biological son.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange asked the judge for an indefinite stay on her decision, citing the Supreme Court’s expected ruling on gay marriage cases in June. But the judge said same-sex couples shouldn’t be left in limbo.

Instead, on Sunday she put a 14-day hold on her ruling. This will give the state time to ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a lengthier stay.

The judge also indicated she’ll soon answer the key question of whether state probate judges must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples once the stay is lifted.

Before the stay was announced on Sunday, the association representing Alabama’s probate judges said it was possible some of Alabama’s 68 probate judges would issue marriage licenses.

In Jefferson County, probate judges in Birmingham and Bessemer planned to issue marriage licensees before the stay was announced.

WBHM’s Ashley Cleek spoke to a couple seeking a marriage license who were turned away this morning at the Jefferson County Courthouse. The chief clerk, Jackie Rhodes, said she couldn’t issue marriage licenses, but told the couple they should come back on February 9 or 11.

The Anniston Star reports that couples were turned away in Calhoun county, too.

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