Moore blocking same-sex marriage, Urban Farm Camp and climber rescued

Feb 9, 2015

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Same-sex marriage is officially legal in Alabama starting today, but Chief Justice Roy Moore is doing everything he can to stand in its way.

Moore issued a letter last night ordering all state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He argues that the federal district court’s ruling does not trump state law.

Ben Cooper is the chairman of Equality Alabama, a volunteer organization defending LGBTQ rights in Alabama. We spoke with Cooper before the law took effect, and he said some of these challenges were expected.

“I’m sure we will see some transition, I’m sure there will be some bumps along the way as we have seen in other states, but once the law comes down, we really don’t have any option but to make those changes and ensure that those rights and privileges are guaranteed to the couples who are now marrying.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Chief Justice Moore of creating a crisis in Alabama. They are urging probate judges to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to all who apply today, and say Moore has no authority to tell them otherwise.

Some probate judges had already announced they would stop issuing any marriage licenses today.

Others will issue licenses, but will stop officiating wedding ceremonies.

It’s the middle of winter, but that’s not stopping the Birmingham Botanical Gardens from looking ahead to summer camp season.

Today’s the day kids who aren’t members of the Gardens to start signing up for this year’s Urban Farm Camp. Students from the fourth to the sixth grade can learn how to grow their own crops and how food networks supply whole cities.

Camp coordinator Brooke McMinn says the campers will get practical lessons on how to farm.

“They’ll even spend a day volunteering for service learning at the zoo, in the zoo garden, which is a garden the zoo has on property where they grow some food to feed the animals. In that, they’ll be able to learn about food that other animals eat.”

The Urban Farm Camp also includes work in the Bruno’s vegetable garden which grows food on a plot of land in downtown Birmingham. The camp at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens starts up in June.

A woman was rescued after finding herself stuck on a cliff wall in a quarry near Auburn yesterday afternoon.

Authorities say the 20 year old Auburn University student was rock climbing in Chewacla State Park when she fell approximately 100 feet. She then became trapped on a ledge 60 feet above the bottom of a gravel pit.

When rescue crews found her, she was injured to the point that she couldn't climb up or come down from the ledge. They used a basket to remove her from the cliff.

The woman suffered moderate injuries and was transported by helicopter to Columbus Regional Medical Center in Columbus, Ga.

The University of Alabama is looking to expand its relations with Cuba.

University trustees recently approved establishing a Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship at the Tuscaloosa campus. The Center will build on work by the Alabama-Cuba Initiative, a program that has built educational ties between the University of Alabama and Cuba for the past 13 years.

Alabama students have been able to study abroad in Cuba since 2009, and Cuban artists and researchers regularly visit the university. An academic travel license from the U.S. Department of Treasury has allowed Cuban educators to work with the University of Alabama since 2002.

The Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship will continue the development of scholarly activities between Cuba and the University of Alabama. The main focus of the new center will be to encourage authorized activities between UA faculty and students and their Cuban counterparts.