(Mobile, AL, February 10, 2015)—Moments ago, United States District Judge Callie V. S. Granade granted the request of four Mobile County same-sex couples to add Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis as a defendant in a lawsuit in which Judge Granade previously struck down Alabama’s marriage equality ban as violating the federal Constitution. Judge Granade scheduled a hearing for this Thursday, February 12, 2015, at 1:00 PM CT in the U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 2B, 113 St. Joseph Street, Mobile, Alabama 36602.
Late Monday, four same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in Mobile earlier in the day filed an emergency motion asking Judge Granade to instruct Davis to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as Judge Granade previously ordered.
The Alabama couples are James Strawser and John Humphrey, who previously obtained a ruling from Judge Granade declaring that Alabama’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional, Meredith Miller and Anna Lisa Carmichael, Robert Povilat and Milton Persinger, and Kristy Simmons and Marshay Safford. The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Birmingham attorney Heather Fann, and the ACLU of Alabama.
Said NCLR Legal Director Shannon P. Minter: “We are pleased that Judge Granade has agreed with our request that the Mobile County Probate Judge be added to this case as a defendant. In our view, the Probate Judge already should be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples given Judge Granade’s earlier ruling that the federal Constitution requires Alabama officials to treat same-sex couples equally. There have been multiple court proceedings in the last few weeks, and the steady trend of those decisions indicates that we are moving quickly toward full marriage equality in Alabama.”
On January 23 and 26, 2015, Judge Granade issued orders prohibiting Alabama from enforcing its marriage ban in two separate cases filed by Alabama couples. The court temporarily stayed its rulings until Monday morning, when Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses entirely rather than issue licenses to same-sex couples. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined a request by the Alabama Attorney General to further delay issuance of marriage licenses. Separately, the Supreme Court is expected to decide by the end of June whether four other states—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—may exclude same-sex couples from marriage.