Alabama's gay 'marriage' ban under attackcomment (0)
February 17, 2014
Alabama has become the next state caught in the gay “marriage” debate as a lawsuit will force the judicial system to consider overturning the state’s current ban on same-sex “marriage.”
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization located in Montgomery, sued the state Feb. 13 on behalf of Paul Hard, a Montgomery resident and reportedly former Baptist preacher.
The suit is in response to the way Hard was treated following the death of his “husband,” David Fancher, who died following a car accident in 2011. Hard wants to claim the estate of Fancher and seek the proceeds in a wrongful death case as well as have “married” listed on Fancher’s death certificate, according to media reports.
According to the Anniston Star, Hard was initially denied by hospital officials any information and the chance to see Fancher after the accident on Interstate 65 in Autauga County on Aug. 1, 2011. Hard and Fancher were married in Cape Cod, Mass., for less than three months before the August accident.
“Southerners are generally good-hearted people and will recognize when a person is being unfairly treated in life’s worst moments,” Hard said. “Most married couples take for granted that if tragedy strikes they can proceed through the worst of times without the state saying at every turn that their marriage doesn’t even exist. Marriages are significant, and my marriage is due the same respect as any other.”
With this case, the SPLC seeks to overturn the state’s Marriage Protection Act, a 1998 law that bans the recognition of same-sex “marriages” from other states, and the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, which put this ban in the constitution in 2005.
State officials are beginning to speak out on the issue.
Jennifer Ardis, Gov. Robert Bentley's communications director, said Feb. 14 the governor believes in the "traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman” and will work to protect the sanctity of marriage in the state. Bentley has been named as a defendant in the suit, according to the Anniston Star.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange also has been named as a defendant in the case. He had not released a statement at press time.
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said the state's residents believe "marriage in our state exists only between a man and a woman.”
"This lawsuit is part of a coordinated liberal agenda that is designed to erode the conservative Alabama values that the citizens of our state hold close to their hearts."
While Hard has no connection to serving as pastor of an Alabama Baptist church, he did earn a bachelor's degree from the University of Mobile and a master of arts and master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.