(Washington, DC, February 4, 2015)—Today, the two couples who successfully challenged Alabama’s ban on marriage equality asked the United States Supreme Court to allow a federal district court’s decisions striking down the ban to go into effect as scheduled on February 9.
On January 23 and 26, Judge Callie V. S. Granade of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama issued orders prohibiting Alabama from enforcing its marriage ban in two separate cases filed by Alabama couples. The court temporarily stayed its orders until February 9. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit refused to grant any further stay.
On February 3, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange asked the Supreme Court to stay the District Court orders until the Supreme Court rules in cases involving marriage equality bans in Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan. A decision in those cases is expected by the end of June 2015.
The Alabama couples are Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand and James Strawser and John Humphrey, all of Mobile. Mobile attorneys Christine Hernandez and David Kennedy represent Searcy and McKeand. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Birmingham attorney Heather Fann represent Strawser and Humphrey.
The brief filed today on behalf of one of the couples emphasizes that “same-sex couples in Alabama will face concrete, severe, ongoing harm” if the District Court’s decision is placed on hold. The opposition papers explain that since October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court has rejected “all requests for stays pending appeal or pending filing of a certiorari petition in cases from around the country challenging state laws prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples. As a result of those orders, district court injunctions have been permitted to take effect while appeals in those cases proceed, allowing couples to marry in Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, and South Carolina.” The Alabama couples today asked the Supreme Court to handle the Alabama cases in the same way.