Barring a last-minute stay by the U.S. Supreme Court, Monday will mark the first day same-sex marriage is legal in Alabama. While the state will join the ranks of 36 others and the District of Columbia that already recognize gay marriage, there remain 13 states that do not.
Freedom to Marry, a national group that advocates for marriage equality, said North Dakota, Nebraska and Georgia are the only three states that still uphold bans on gay marriage and do not have a U.S. Supreme Court case pending. Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee currently have gay-marriage cases before the Supreme Court. Lower courts have ruled in favor of legalizing gay marriage in six states -- South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi -- but those rulings are being appealed.
Local courthouses in Alabama are expecting same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses Monday morning, the Associated Press reported, after U.S. District Judge Callie Granade overturned the state constitution's ban on gay marriage, which was approved by voters in 2006.
“It’s such a huge thing for Alabama to finally not be the last in something that is progressive,” Joe Babin, a gay Alabama resident told AP. Babin plans on marrying his boyfriend Clay Jones Monday. “We knew we wanted to do it that day because it’s such a huge day for gay rights.”
Though Babin and other supporters consider this a huge win for the state, the ruling still has many critics.
“We ... call upon Alabama Baptists to pray for our state and nation and to stand strong in support of biblical marriage as the only form that should be legal in Alabama and throughout our nation," Rick Lance, an executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions said in a statement on Friday.
The criticisms from some of the community’s conservative figures aren’t surprising to Babin or his soon-to-be husband. The couple says they are happy to find acceptance from their traditionally Baptist family and their community in Birmingham’s residential Southside neighborhood, where they say rainbow flags aren’t an uncommon site.