MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – A Birmingham couple filed a federal lawsuit today challenging Alabama’s same sex marriage ban.
The suit could have a huge impact on marriage recognition for same sex couples who get married out of state, but live in Alabama.
Wednesday is Ginger and April Aaron Brush’s second anniversary. They’re celebrating by fighting to have their marriage recognized in Alabama. As far as the state is concerned they are not married. The case challenges the constitutionality of Alabama’s same sex marriage ban.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Alabama filed the suit on behalf of Ginger and April Aaron-Brush. They got married in Massachusetts. The federal government recognizes their marriage. If they succeed in getting the state to follow suit: the couple says they’ll get more family leave at work, they’ll get to file joint state income tax returns and most importantly it means Ginger can be considered a legal guardian for their 7 year old daughter.
“Our daughter is adopted. April is the legal mother of our daughter. I was unable to take part in the adoption because of the ban. To protect our family and to keep our family secure I’m forced to carry with me a durable power of attorney over April and then also over our daughter in the tragic event that something were to happen. So there’s a lot of, it, it can be scary,” said Ginger Aaron-Brush.
Former state lawmaker and current Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Bill Armistead, sponsored the Marriage Protection Act which passed in 1998. He says a statewide referendum in 2006 showed that a majority of Alabama residents oppose same sex marriage.
“Alabamians have spoken loud and clear on their feelings about marriage. Marriage is between one man and one woman and nothing else. Alabamians have voted on this,” said Armistead. “So I think any lawsuit against Alabama in that regard is fruitless. We’re not going to allow the federal government or any judicial branch of the government to step in and tell us what the definition of marriage is in Alabama.”
Birmingham attorney Wendy Crew is a cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Alabama on the case.
“We are asking the federal courts to declare that Alabama’s ban on the recognition of same sex marriages have been performed out of state be declared unconstitutional,” said Crew.”What we are asking the courts to do is at least recognize in Alabama the marriages of those who have gone to other states and come back home to Alabama.”
The April and Ginger Aaron-Brush say they are confident that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage will be overturned.
“It will be a non-issue,” said Ginger Aaron-Brush.
“In 15 years it will be in the history books,” said April Aaron-Brush.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is one of four state officers named as defendants in the suit.
The Governor issued the following response on Tuesday:
“I think we have to let the court system work. People have the right to file law suits, but my job as chief executive of the state is to always execute the laws of the state and I will continue to do that like the law says. The constitution says marriage is between a man and a woman, so we have to uphold the laws of the state and that’s what I will do.”
– Source: Office of Governor Robert Bentley
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