A federal judge in Alabama struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Friday, calling it unconstitutional and harmful to children of gay couples. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade in Mobile city said that there was no connection between prohibiting and not recognizing same-sex marriages and the state’s so-called goal of having more children raised in the biological family structure, reports said.
Couples can apply for licenses as soon as Saturday following Granade’s ruling, which said that the ban was harmful to the children of same-sex couples.
“If anything, Alabama’s prohibition of same-sex marriage detracts from its goal of promoting optimal environments for children,” Granade said, according to Bloomberg, adding: “Those children currently being raised by same-sex parents in Alabama are just as worthy of protection and recognition by the state as are the children being raised by opposite-sex parents.”
The decision comes after two women, Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, from Mobile city, sued the state for failing to recognize their union and were denied the petition to adopt McKeand’s son, CNN reported. The couple, who have been together for 15 years, married in California. Searcy and McKeand had lost their case in Alabama’s probate court and a state appeals court before they took the case to the federal court.
The ruling comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether states can ban same-sex marriage. The ruling, which is due by the end of June, will emerge from cases concerning marriage prohibitions in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, Reuters reported.
"Judge Granade's ruling today affirms what we already know to be true -- that all loving, committed Alabama couples should have the right to marry," Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow, said in a statement, according to Reuters.
However, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley did not hail the ruling.
"The people of Alabama voted in a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman," Jennifer Ardis, Bentley's spokesperson, said in a statement, according to Reuters, adding: "The governor is disappointed with the ruling today, and we will review the decision to decide the next steps."
Last week, a federal judge in Florida also ruled that the county clerks across the state must issue marriage licenses to all same-sex couples from Jan. 6.