Crazy in Alabama: Judicial Process and the Last Stand Against Marriage Equality in the Land of George Wallace

Wasserman, Howard M. | July 12, 2015

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that prohibitions on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment. In hindsight, the decision seems inevitable, the culmination of a precisely two-year race towards marriage equality that began with the Court’s 2013 invalidation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, 2013. Federal trial and appellate courts were almost uniform in declaring state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari or stays of judgment in all of those cases. Additionally, high-ranking public officials in several states gave up their opposition to marriage equality, ordering the issuance of licenses to same-sex couples even before all litigation had concluded. Alabama represented the glaring exception.