Federal Court Confirms That All Alabama Counties Must Permit Marriage Equality

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade today issued an order confirming that her injunction directing all Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is now in effect and requires immediate compliance.

A violation of Judge Granade’s order could result in a county probate judge being held liable for contempt of court, attorneys’ fees, financial penalties and any other remedies the court deems proper.

In today’s order, Judge Granade stated: “By the language set forth in the order, the preliminary injunction is now in effect and binding on all members of the Defendant Class.”

In that May 21 preliminary-injunction order, Judge Granade directed all Alabama probate judges to stop enforcing the state’s marriage ban – effective immediately – after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling affirming marriage equality. The Supreme Court issued its decision last Friday, so the injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ban went into effect that day.

Although most of Alabama’s county probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a minority are not. So the civil rights groups representing the plaintiffs in the federal class-action lawsuit asked Judge Granade to confirm that her order is now in effect. She immediately granted the request, issuing today’s order that all probate judges must issue licenses to same-sex couples under the same terms and conditions that they are issued to opposite-sex couples.

The four organizations representing the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit are the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The lawsuit—Strawser v. Strange—was brought by five same-sex couples. It initially resulted in an order from Judge Granade requiring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Mobile County. The order was expanded in Granade’s May 21 order to cover all Alabama counties. 


The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see www.SPLCenter.org

ACLU of Alabama, Because Freedom Can't Protect Itself. www.ACLUAlabama.org

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.