Granade Clarifies Ruling, Birmingham to Remove Confederate Monument

Jul 2, 2015

Confederate memorial in Linn Park, Birmingham

A federal judge says Alabama counties must abide by court decisions allowing gay marriage. APR’s Stan Ingold reports U.S. District Judge Callie Granade issued an order updating a previous ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

Judge Granade says state probate judges can't discriminate against gay couples because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled gay marriage is legal everywhere. But her order doesn't affect counties that have stopped issuing all marriage licenses.

The judge had put previous decisions on hold to allow time for the justices to rule.

Granade's order came at the request of groups representing gay couples across Alabama. Many Alabama counties still aren't issuing same-sex marriage licenses despite the Supreme Court decision.

The Alabama Supreme Court apparently muddied the issue by granting time for gay marriage opponents to voice their opinion.

Officials in Birmingham have taken the first steps toward the removal of a Confederate monument from one of the city's parks.

The Birmingham Parks and Recreation board voted during a meeting last night to explore the removal of the large obelisk from the entrance of Linn Park.

Board member and former Birmingham mayor Bernard Kincaid says he wants to be respectful of history, but doesn't think a Confederate monument should be in a city park.

The Pelham chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy erected the monument 110 years ago. That chapter doesn’t exist anymore, but other Southern heritage groups have expressed interest in placing the monument elsewhere.

Activist Frank Matthews says the decision to remove this monument doesn’t mean purging Birmingham of all its ties to the Civil War and the Confederacy. He highlights that Linn Park is named for Charles Linn, who served in the Confederate Navy.

The Fourth of July is coming up, so what’s the best city in the U.S. to celebrate Independence Day?

The personal finance website Wallethub did a study and found Birmingham is one of the best cities to observe the birthday of the United States. The Magic City is ranked 17th out of 100 cities on the list.

Wallethub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says food and entertainment costs figured into the results.

“You want to think about how congested a city is going to be, you also want to make sure that there is enough entertainment and activities to go around; hopefully at a lower cost.”

Gonzalez says Wallethub rated Birmingham and the other cities on several other criteria. The list included the length of firework shows, the cost to attend, and the number of festivals and performances to choose from.

State Senator Cam Ward has been arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

Shelby County Jail records show Ward was booked yesterday on DUI charges. Major Ken Burchfield with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office confirmed Ward was still in the jail last night and was released on bond this morning.

The Republican state senator from Alabaster is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also headed a prison reform task force and sponsored legislation this spring to overhaul the state's crowded prison system.