Alabama Judge Requests Picture with Married Gay Couple

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
While many judges are denying marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples in Alabama, one judge defies discrimination with a powerful photo.

While many judges are denying marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples in Alabama, one judge defies discrimination with a powerful photo.

Jefferson County Judge Michael G. Graffeo officiated the wedding of Dinah McCaryer and Olanda Smith — the first couple to be married in Jefferson County. The couple had tears in their eyes as they vowed to take each other in matrimony.

After marrying the two, Graffeo requested a picture with the newlyweds.

In 43 of Alabama’s 67 counties, the county Probate Courts were refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The marriage license office in Mobile County was closed, and Judge James Hall of Probate Court of Florence told Beth Ridley and Rose Roysden that he would not issue them a marriage license. “I’m caught up in the middle of this,” he explained.

U.S. District Court judge Callie V. Granade ruled last month that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Her ruling was put on hold until Monday so the state could have a chance to appeal.  On Sunday night, the Alabama Chief Justice, Roy S. Moore, ordered all county probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. However, on Monday morning the U.S. Supreme Court refused the state’s request to delay Granade’s order pending the outcome of the state’s appeal — paving the way for same-sex marriage in the state.

With Alabama’s courts’ stubborn unwillingness to grant marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples, Graffeo's action is a glimmer of hope in the state that acceptance is possible.

Alabama is the 37th state to legalize same-sex marriage.