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Alabama's first openly lesbian to ever be elected to the legislature will sue to overturn the state's ban on same sex marriage. Rep. Patricia Todd knows the state's political leaders aren't about grant her and her partner the right to marry through new legislation.

Alabama House member says only way to achieve civil rights progress in her state is through courts.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The first openly gay lawmaker in Alabama history said she plans to challenge the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

"The reality is, unfortunately in Alabama, the only way we ever progress any civil rights in this state is through a court decision," said Rep. Patricia Todd, a Democrat from Birmingham, Ala. "This is no different. We will have to use that process and move forward."

Todd, who plans to marry her partner Sept. 14 in Massachusetts, said she expects a number of lawsuits in states where gay marriage is banned. Excluding California, whose constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage was overturned as a result of a Supreme Court decision Wednesday, 29 states, including Alabama, have banned same-sex marriage in their constitutions. Five other states have laws prohibiting it.

"The court really did open it up for us to have legal standing to challenge these," she said.

States with bans and prohibitions on same sex marriage can look forward to a swarm of expensive lawsuits, that now looks like these states may well lose in the end.  Maybe someone with a better legal background than I have can speak to that in a comment.

I am in awe of people who like Patricia Todd have the courage to stand up and assert their rights to equal treatment, even in places where the regional culture is saturated in Christian Fundamentalism, the way it is in Alabama. That takes considerable courage and lots of resolve.

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Comment Preferences

  •  America is blessed with Patricia Todds in every (25+ / 0-)

    state who fight for social justice.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:42:24 AM PDT

  •  bring it! (8+ / 0-)

    we have 37 states to work on... until all are equal.

    A is for alabama! seems like a logical place to start :)

    let's go!

    every adult is responsible for every child

    by ridemybike on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:50:13 AM PDT

  •  I'm a 58 yo lesbian exisle from Alabama (7+ / 0-)

    I left in the early 80s when Wallace was re-elected--again, heading north of the Mason Dixon line where I thought things would be much better. They weren't really, but that's another post.....

    Needless to say, I am moved by the enormous progress this country has made in my lifetime toward equal rights for women, African-Americans, and the LGBT community--progress I would not have thought possible in 1978 when I came out in Birmingham.

    So, yesterday, like most of my brothers and sisters, I welcomed with some tears the overturning of DOMA and resumption of marriages in CA.

    But THIS--an openly lesbian legislator from Alabama declaring her intent to take the fight to the state--has me in an even deeper state of awe and joy.

    Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic news--and I have a new hero in Patricia Todd.

    Go get 'em, girl.

    "This is a center-left country. Democrats can act that way and win. In fact, they must." -- Markos

    by cassandraX on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:05:20 AM PDT

  •  Go Patricia go! (6+ / 0-)

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:07:49 AM PDT

  •  There's a better than very good chance.. (7+ / 0-)

    ..she will win too
    Rachel Maddow uses Scalia Lawrence v Texas anti sodomy dissent rant of ten years ago to show that lawsuits brought against states that do not recognize same sex marriages will very likely prevail against the state

    Rachel and her team dug in and found some arguments of Scalia that will help same sex couples who are legally married in one state that decide to move to a state that has no same sex marriage civil protections –  it pretty cool stuff

    Scalia’s dissent:
    The Texas statute that undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are immoral and unacceptable.
    ..Bowers [case] held that this was a legitimate state interest. The court today reaches the opposite conclusion. The Texas statute, it says, furthers no legitimate interest.
    ..if moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is no longer legitimate state interest..what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples
    Rachel: “Right! ..Justice Scalia raised this point in horror ten years ago on the last big gay rights case that had its last majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy. And he [Scalia as paraphrased by Rachel] was saying” -  
    ‘you realize this ruling means gay people are gonna be able to get married..right? Do you realize that?’

    Rachel: “Yes! Justice Scalia we realize that. And indeed Justice Kennedy today cited that ten year old ruling twice, when he wrote today that the Federal government has to recognize all marriages that are recognized in the states, even if some of them have the gay

    It’s a very good report from beginning to end - Scalia’s Lawrence v Texas quotes begin @ minute ~ 8:00  
    (short commercial – sorry)

    In Scalia’s dissent on DOMA ruling 6/25/2013:

    ..the view that this Court will take of state prohibition of same sex marriage is indicated beyond today’s opinion…
    how easy it is indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same sex couples marital status.
    "indicated beyond today's opinion"

    Sounds like Scalia own bigoted reasoning can and will used practically word for word  to defeat his own objections to same sex couples having equal protection under the law in every state – good deal

    “Hoist with his own petard” - A petard was a small bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications, of French origin and dating back to the sixteenth century.

    Lol – I like the root of the word in Scalia’s case

     Petard etymology:: Petard comes from the Middle French peter, to break wind, from pet expulsion of intestinal gas, from the Latin peditus, past participle of pedere, to break wind, akin to the Greek bdein, to break wind (Merriam--Webster).

    Transcript @ link:

    Thx Lefty Coaster

    •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, bythesea

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:36:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The thing is, I remember when (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, bythesea

      the Lawrence decision came out, and I, a gay man, thought Scalia's dissent was way over the top.  It seemed to me at that point that the prospect for same-sex marriage was much too far in the future to be seriously considered.  Boy, was I wrong!  The rate of change in public opinion on marriage equality has been blindingly fast.  Now everybody looks at those words written by Scalia in a gay-induced panic, and they realize he was absolutely correct, and what was the problem with that again?

      Poor Nino.

      -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audeyrenee

      by gizmo59 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:05:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A basic legal primer (4+ / 0-)

    If you want an in-depth analysis of the Windsor (DOMA) case, you should read Adam B.'s excellent diary.

    I can't say that I have his grasp of the issues, but here is a quick rundown:

    Justice Kennedy's opinion in Windsor centered on the concept of equal guarantee of liberty under the 5th Amendment.  IT also discussed the lack of governmental interest:  DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the State.

    What comes next?  There is another provision of DOMA that still survives which allows the States that do not have same-sex marriage to not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in the states where it is recognized.  In other words, for gays and lesbians, their legal and valid marriages do not follow them from Massachusetts to Alabama.

    Fortunately, there is a little something in Article IV of the Constitution, called the full faith and credit clause:

    Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state
    That is where the challenge to Alabama's marriage laws will come.  And the clause really is not ambiguous.  I think all those laws will have to come down, just like the anti-miscegenation laws after Loving v. Virginia.

    I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use -- Galileo Galilei

    by ccyd on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:38:30 AM PDT

    •  I'm sure there are challenges in many state courts (0+ / 0-)

      now in the pipeline on this exact issue: a state's prohibition against same-sex marriage. Do you or anyone know if a case has been decides at trial level on this issue? I follow this issue closely, and I can't think of one. I suspect one hasn't made its way to an appeals court either.

      So, would see go after Sec 2 of DOMA in fed court, or challenge AL ban on same-sex marriage in AL state court?

      Dear Fundamentalist Christians, "The Flintstones" was not a reality show. Sincerely, The Rational World.

      by BlueMindState on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:31:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can Jehovah Witness sue the Watchtower Society (0+ / 0-)

    If they want too marry an Apostate  ,since lots of marriage laws are based on biblical scriptures ,should those  who do not believe in a God , be  force too ahere too scriptures  when they marry in some States,lots of these Christian know they  cannot have religious argument in a court of law,but use it as the guidiance principle for thier argument,same sex lawyer should goat defendant in same sex lawsuit too confess that religion is the guidiance principle for their oppostion to same sex marriage

  •  Outstanding. NT (0+ / 0-)

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:44:45 PM PDT

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