Barring a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, on Monday Alabama becomes the 37th state to recognize same-sex marriage. Despite some heated political debate, most probate courts around the state are getting ready to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend the stay since justices will consider the issue of gay marriage later this year. As of this writing, the court had not responded to the state’s request.
Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King says his court is looking forward to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and presiding over their ceremonies. And they’re preparing for a large influx of couples.
“We will have two lines open, and we are fully prepared to open a third to ensure that every couple who wants a marriage license will get one,” King says. “We will have several rooms available here for couples to have their ceremonies in, but we are expecting a large crowd, so couples will have to be patient.”
Judge King also says that the court is willing to get a bit creative. “Now maybe it’ll be a pretty day, and maybe folks will want to have ceremonies, if there is a large crowd, out in the park.” Same-sex marriage supporters are planning celebrations outside courthouses throughout Alabama.
While most probate courts in the state will issue licenses to same-sex couples, a few others will not. The probate judges of Pike County and Covington County have stated that they refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and a few judges from counties such as Madison, Marengo, and Chilton have said that they will issue licenses to same-sex couples, but, in protest, will no longer preside over any marriages.
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