Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied the State of Alabama’s request to extend a stay of a federal court’s decision striking down the state’s ban on marriage equality. On Friday, January 30, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) asked the court to deny the state’s request, noting that the Supreme Court has previously denied similar requests to delay issuance of marriage licenses in Florida, Kansas, South Carolina, Idaho, and other states.
“The Attorney General of the State of Alabama’s motions for a stay pending appeal are DENIED,” the order states.
NCLR represents James Strawser and John Humphrey, a Mobile couple who were denied a marriage license and subsequently obtained an order from a federal district court prohibiting enforcement of Alabama’s laws prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples. The couple is represented by NCLR and by Birmingham attorney Heather Fann.
The couple filed a federal challenge to Alabama’s marriage ban without an attorney. After a hearing at which the couple testified, Judge Callie V. S. Granade of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama issued an order on January 26, 2015, prohibiting the state from enforcing its marriage ban. The court temporarily stayed its order. Unless the United States Supreme Court enters a further stay, the district court’s stay will be lifted on February 9, and Alabama will be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples at that time.
NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Christopher F. Stoll said, “We are pleased that the Eleventh Circuit recognized there is no reason to further delay full equality for all Alabama couples. Each day that committed couples are denied the freedom to marry, they are left without important legal protections that offer a safety net in times of illness or financial hardship. Now that the court of appeals has spoken, all Alabama couples can enjoy the freedom to marry next Monday.”