(Washington, DC., February 10, 2015)—Today, in an interview with BuzzFeed, President Obama stated that he would welcome a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in every state, stating: “It’s time to recognize that under the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”
The President also voiced support for same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in Alabama, where Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has ordered county probate judges to disregard a federal court ruling declaring that Alabama’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples is unconstitutional. President Obama stated: “When federal law is in conflict with state law, federal law wins out.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Executive Director Kate Kendell said: “It is reassuring and inspiring that President Obama has announced to the nation his support for marriage equality in Alabama and for faithful adherence to our most cherished constitutional principles. Americans are diverse, and we live in diverse states. But the Constitution’s protections apply to all of us, and the rule of law ensures that we can all enjoy liberty–in Alabama and throughout our land. We thank President Obama, as well as those officials in Alabama and other states who have chosen to help bring to life our nation’s promise of equality.”
Added ACLU of Alabama Executive Director Susan Watson: “President Obama has sent a powerful message of support for all Alabama families. Although some Alabama officials have decided to ignore their clear obligations under our federal Constitution, most understand, like the President, that treating all families equally is not only what the law requires, it is the right thing to do. We hope and believe that the federal district court will soon further clarify the duties of local officials, and that couples throughout the state will soon be able to receive marriage licenses in their home counties.”
NCLR, ACLU of Alabama, and Birmingham attorney Heather Fann represent four Mobile, Alabama couples challenging the state’s ban on marriage equality. On January 23 and 26, 2015, United States District Judge Callie V. S. Granade issued orders prohibiting Alabama from enforcing its marriage ban in two separate cases filed by Alabama couples.
On Monday, the couples in the two cases challenging the marriage ban asked Judge Granade to instruct Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to issue them marriage licenses after Davis announced that he would stop issuing marriage licenses until he receives further instructions from Judge Granade or the Alabama Supreme Court. Judge Granade will hold a hearing on those requests on Thursday.