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Politics & Government

Groups seek class-action lawsuit on same-sex marriage

Callie Granade

A coalition of civil rights organizations filed a motion asking a federal judge to order Alabama's probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The request will also add plaintiffs to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban.

The motion, filed in Mobile on Friday, includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The motion asks for Alabama judges to issue marriage licenses regardless of a couple's sexual orientation and to give equal legal protection to marriages of same-sex couples. The groups are seeking class-action status for the suit; it would then include all Alabama same-sex couples who wish to marry.

All of these motions and requests are part of the Strawser v. Strange case which is still active in U.S. District Judge Callie Granade's court. That case was one of two in which Granade originally declared Alabama's law banning same-sex marriage federally unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, Alabama's Supreme Court issued a ruling that halted future same-sex marriage in the state, despite the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to hear Alabama's appeal of Granade's decision.

Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, said "Alabama needs to be on the right side of history. Marriage equality is coming to all 50 states. We will not give up the fight until marriage equality exists for all."

All courts involved will be bound by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the same-sex marriage issue nationally. They are expected to hear arguments on the issue beginning next month and will likely rule in June.

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