On Monday, February 9, Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time ever, in compliance with a federal ruling. Although most counties in the state did not comply with the federal ruling thanks to the meddling of the infamous Roy Moore, Madison County was thankfully among the handful that did.
The first couple to emerge from the county courthouse doors with a marriage license in hand Monday morning, were Ashinari Effinger and Adrian Thomas. I was glad to be there for the historic moment! They immediately proceeded to nearby Big Spring Park where well-wishers, volunteers, and journalists were waiting to witness what would be the first same-sex marriage in the city of Huntsville, and Madison County.
Reverend Dr. Ellin Jimmerson of Huntsville's Weatherly Heights Baptist Church officiated the ceremony. "Great joy and extravagant celebration are the order of the day," she said before before marrying the couple. She also congratulated U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, whom she said, "in finding Alabama's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional, legally recognized members of their own families."
She also marked the occasion with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," she said, adding, "The long arc of the moral universe also bends toward love."
This piece documents Madison County's first same-sex marriage in images and sound. But please note, it does not include audio of the full ceremony.
This ceremony was just the first of dozens of marriages that were performed throughout the day. Many volunteers came together through a grass roots effort to marry couples immediately after obtaining marriage licenses, in response to the probate judge declining to perform ceremonies this week. They will continue to perform marriages every day this week as part of Wedding Week.
I will be posting another audio slideshow documenting sights and sounds of the first day of same-sex marriage in Alabama, soon. Unfortunately, having a full-time job is slowing me down a little... but it's coming!