- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama’s stand against same-sex marriage crumbled Friday as most of the state’s counties began issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Here’s how:


U.S. District Judge Callie Granade overturned Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban in January, staying her decision until Monday. With hours to go before courthouses opened, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore directed state judges to ignore her ruling, threatening sanctions from the governor. Moore urged judges to refuse licenses even after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request for a delay. Then the governor said he would not discipline judges. Only after Granade reiterated her order Thursday did judges in most counties begin issuing licenses to gay couples.


About 50 of the 67 counties were acknowledging late Friday that Alabama is now the 37th U.S. state where gays can legally wed, according to the Human Rights Campaign, which keeps numbers on gay rights. Same-sex matrimony is now banned in only 13 of the 50 states, and more than 71 percent of Americans now live in states where gay marriage is legal.


Roy Moore, an outspoken critic of homosexuality, burnished his Christian credentials with a losing fight to keep a Ten Commandments statue inside Alabama’s Supreme Court building a decade ago. Granade, a former federal prosecutor, was schooled in Texas and appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.


Moore has denied any parallels to the South’s opposition to the Civil Rights movement. Granade expressed pride during her 2001 Senate confirmation hearing in the legacy of her grandfather Richard Rives, a federal appellate judge whose rulings helped desegregate the South a half-century ago.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said it will sue the remaining holdout counties if necessary. Gay marriage opponents are hoping for a favorable verdict by June from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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