Alabama LGBTQ struggle wins

March 19, 2016

Decades of lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer organizing have won two more important victories in the U.S., this time in Alabama.

Alabama has been a reactionary hotspot of Republican rear-guard opposition to LGBTQ rights. But on March 7, the U.S. Supreme Court restored adoption rights denied by the Alabama Supreme Court to a lesbian mother divorced from her same-sex partner.

The couple had been in a 16-year relationship and had co-parented three children. This historic ruling affirms same-sex adoptions in the more than 30 states that still do not recognize them despite last year’s Supreme Court decision affirming the right to same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been explicitly illegal in Alabama — based on a 1996 gubernatorial executive order, a 1998 legislative bill and a 2006 “anti-gay marriage” state constitutional amendment. In January, the “Christian Nation” Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, Roy Moore, ordered county probate judges to obey their “ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license” contrary to those state laws. (, Jan. 6)

However, LGBTQ activists mobilized tremendous public and legal pressure, forcing the Alabama Supreme Court on March 4 to rule that county judges must issue same-sex marriage licenses. Continued struggle for justice will be necessary, since state Supreme Court judges ordered compliance with one sentence — and then wrote a decision with 169 additional pages detailing their continued homophobic opposition to same-sex marriage.