The news has very little to say regarding same-sex marriage in Alabama and whatever action might be happening regarding the subject, is getting little publicity. What voters have to say, however, rings loud and clear. In 2008 81% of voters approved the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment which defines marriage as an “inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman.” Part “b” states that “a marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state” and the amendment continues on, just so there are no misunderstandings, to reject any legal recognition of common law marriages or anything that resembles one. Former Governor Bob Riley said, in 2004, that he was in support of a national constitutional amendment that would essentially prevent all 50 states from having different marriage standards; of course, these standards would include only heterosexual couples.
This is a non-binding resolution—that Virgina adopted as well—that when taken up, urged Congress to pass and amendment banning same-sex marriage. In addition to this somewhat redundant legislation, the state of Alabama has adopted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as law. DOMA was passed by Congress in 1996 to deny federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allow states to do the same.
Same-sex sexual activity is also illegal in the state of Alabama. Since this would be questionable to regulate, a law like this can only lead one to assume that it was instated for the purpose of blatantly discriminating. There is no room for interpretation here and it seems the state has made its point.
Perhaps the only beam of (legal) light for LGBTQ individuals in this Deep South state, was the House of Representatives voting to add gays and bisexuals to a hate crimes act in 2009. The measure won 46-41–which seems uncomfortably close– and makes it illegal to attack someone because of his or her sexual orientation. Democrat Alvin Holmes sponsored the bill which serves to update the original, passed in 1994, that includes race, religion, color and nationality.
Who Else Is On the Playing Field?
Equality Alabama is a nonprofit organization and the largest LGBTQ rights group in the state that “supports any and all efforts with regard to marriage equality.” They hold a host of events and provide information for how citizens can register to vote and get in touch with their elected officials.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has also done awareness work, with the help of Equality Alabama, in the state since it is considered one of the most difficult in which to live openly.
- Can same-sex couples marry in Alabama? No.
- Can same-sex couples enter into or have legal relationships recognized? No.