Same-sex marriage begins in parts of Alabama

Updated: 2015-02-10 10:18


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Same-sex marriage begins in parts of Alabama

A couple displaying their marriage license reacts after receiving flowers as they leave Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama February 9, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

The scene contrasted to that in other parts of the state, from Tuscaloosa, where gay couples were refused marriage licenses, to Shelby County, where the marriage license department was shuttered.

In Mobile, attorneys for gay couples filed a federal contempt motion against Probate Judge Don Davis over the county's marriage license division being shut, which was denied on technical grounds.

Ronald Krotoszynski, a constitutional law expert at the University of Alabama School of Law, said state probate judges are obligated to follow the federal ruling but that many likely fear losing their elected judgeships by acceding too quickly.

"It makes the courage of the judges that have followed the federal order all the more remarkable," he said.

Gay rights advocates were critical of judges hindering gay marriages, and of Moore for provoking them.

"Justice Moore couched his order in a desire to create clarity, but its only effect has been to sow confusion," said Adam Talbot, a Human Rights Campaign spokesman.