Alabama Counties Ignore Gay Marriage Ruling, Refuse to Grant Licenses

Despite the refusal of the Supreme Court to maintain a hold on gay marriages in Alabama, more than 50 of the state's 67 counties are creating problems for same-sex couples, according to Reuters. The Alabama Attorney General insists that his freeze remains in effect, in defiance of the High Court.

Some county offices shut down completely to avoid dealing with same-sex applicants, while others simply refused to grant licenses. Couples are striking back, with at least one contempt motion filed against Probate Judge Don Davis in Mobile for shuttering the county's license division.

Alabama is in the minority in the ongoing fight for marriage equality, with almost 40 states and the District of Columbia already allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. A nationwide decision is expected soon, with the Supreme Court poised to issue its official ruling on the legality of same-sex unions.

Psychological Marriage Benefits Don't Discriminate

While the same-sex marriage debate is often framed in terms of civil rights for the gay community, they stand to gain other benefits if the Supreme Court strikes down bans throughout America. As this video shows, gay couples who marry have less psychological stress than those who don't. Researchers say this could come from the sense of social inclusion that results from being allowed to wed. Overall, the rate of failure for same sex marriage is about the same as that of heterosexual couples, as this article points out.

The debate rages on, and with laws still varying around the country and other states trying tactics similar to those being used in Alabama. In January, three Florida counties stopped performing all courthouse marriages in defiance of same-sex weddings becoming legal in the Sunshine State. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who struck down Florida's same-sex marriage ban, responded with a statement that county clerks are legally obligated to issue marriage licenses.

The Supreme Court's recent activity seems to make it likely that they'll issue a pro-marriage quality ruling. If so, gay couples can reap the same stress-relieving benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.