"Religious freedom" bill passes House, Kathryn Windham honored and St. Patrick's Day celebrations

Mar 13, 2015

2014 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Birmingham, AL

The Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill granting legal protections for judges, ministers and others who refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Representatives approved that measure by a 69-25 vote yesterday. It will now head to the Senate.

Republican Representative Jim Hill proposed the bill after getting calls from ministers and judges concerned that they would be required to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples if and when gay marriage is restored in Alabama..

The bill does not mention same-sex marriage specifically, but it says judges, ministers and others don't have to conduct weddings that violate their religious beliefs.

The bill also gives civil immunity to churches, ministers and other religious-affiliated groups if they refuse to host or recognize a wedding. Opponents argue that provision could lead to widespread discrimination in Alabama.

Friends, family, and fans of the late Kathyrn Tucker Windham gathered today just outside of Selma as the storyteller became part of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame. APR’s Pat Duggins was there and says there were plenty of stories to go around.

Even the daughter of Kathryn Tucker Windham has a favorite story she used to tell. Dilcy Windham Hilley of Birmingham attended today’s ceremony at Judson College in the town of Marion for her mother’s induction into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame. Hilley says her mother would have considered it an honor to join the like of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, but...

"My mother was a very modest, humble woman. And this might have been an embarrassment to her.”

You can find Hilley's full story about her mother here.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until next Tuesday, but that’s not keeping fans of all things Ireland from wearing green starting tonight.

The Birmingham Irish Cultural Society is holding its annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration dinner this evening. The fundraising event is to benefit the Kid-One charity which gives children and expectant mothers rides to doctor appointments.

Marty Connors is chairman and co-founder of the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society. He says the group sponsors a different charity each year.

“We’ve raised money before for ovarian cancer research at UAB. We’ve raised money to send the UAB marching band to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day. So, it’s really whatever hits us that year as a charity we work on.”

There will be St. Patrick’s Day parades in Birmingham as well as Huntsville and Mobile. The city of Madison is holding a parade and pet walk on Sunday.