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Will Gay Marriage Turn the Deep South from Red to Pink?

Will Gay Marriage Turn the Deep South from Red to Pink?: Michael Cary/CNN

Michael Cary/CNN

Yesterday marked history in Alabama in a turn of events that have shocked most of the country. The Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request to stop same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses. In a state where some of the countries toughest desegregation issues and political turmoil have taken place since the 1960s, the decision may be the beginning of a transition in the deep south. Because if two dudes can wed in deep-red Alabama, then same-sex couples can probably do it anywhere.

Of course, most of the state and Chief Justice Roy Moore still pose a rather forceful opposition. In county seats like Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville, flocks of smiling couples, often with tears in their eyes, gathered outside courthouses in order to seal the deal. But according to the Human Rights Campaign, in at least 50 of Alabama’s 67 counties, the county Probate Courts still refused to issue licenses to gay and lesbian couples. While other counties’ marriage licenses office, like Mobile, were simply just closed in an act of protest. Some judges have even stopped conducting weddings altogether.

Timeline of same-sex marriage bans and legalizations by effective date of laws, courtesy of gaymarriage.procon.org

Timeline of same-sex marriage bans and legalizations by effective date of laws, courtesy of gaymarriage.procon.org

If Alabama goes “pink,” you can expect direct pressure on states such as Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana and even good ol’ Mississippi to get on the much more rainbow side of the bed. And even though in some parts of the country it seems as if same-sex marriage is normal and an issue of the past, 13 states still have same-sex marriage bans. Where 12 of these states are actually backed by Constitutional Amendment and State Law. And yes, you can bet those 12 include every southern state I just mentioned.

So even though parts of Alabama are vehemently going to fight against same-sex marriage as long and aggressively as they can (Governor Wallace on school desegregation in 1963, anyone?), the U.S. can easily expect an interesting change of heart in the south. Especially considering Monday’s 7-to-2 decision is sending an undeniably strong signal that a majority of the high court will continue to back striking down bans on gay marriage. If a bunch of white judicial conservatives think the fight on gay marriage needs to come to an end, Alabama and other southern states better be ready to get rocked.


Nicole Theodore is an editorial assistant at Playboy.com. Follow her on twitter @nctheodore

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