Rep. Patricia Todd plans to challenge Alabama's same-sex marriag - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Rep. Patricia Todd plans to challenge Alabama's same-sex marriage ban

State Representative Patricia Todd. Source: WBRC video State Representative Patricia Todd. Source: WBRC video

Alabama state representative Patricia Todd says she and her partner plan to legally challenge Alabama's constitutional ban on same sex marriage in light of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Todd (D-Birmingham) became the first openly gay public official in Alabama when she was elected in 2006 to represent the 54th District.

She says she has no confidence that the state legislature will legalize same sex marriage in Alabama.

"It's got to be in the courts. We are not known for legislative acts on civil rights until the federal courts mandate we do something, so this has got to be a court decision," she said.

Todd said Wednesday she has retained a lawyer and she and her partner are researching their options, which could include filing both federal and state lawsuits.

"Jennifer Clarke and I will be filing a challenge to Alabama's Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage following the Supreme Court decision," Todd said in an emailed statement.

She says attorney Joel Dillard will represent them in the lawsuit.

Todd is asking other same sex couples who were married in another state and live in Alabama to join their lawsuit so they can possibly turn it into a class action suit.

The Alabama Policy Institute, a think tank in Birmingham, doesn't believe a lawsuit will go very far.

"Alabama's law that doesn't recognize gay marriage seems to be the default position for the state," Cameron Smith with the API said.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who was in Birmingham Wednesday, said he believes Alabama's ban against same sex marriage will withstand any court challenge.

"My position has been all along the states should decide those issues. That is my understanding and I hope the courts recognize that principal as well," Strange said.

Cumberland law school dean John Darroll says the U.S. Supreme Court may have struck down the Defense of Marriage Act but the justices did not mandate Alabama and other states to accept gay marriages.

"I think it sends the message that the court is still hesitant to on the big issue in the hits case whether states have to recognize some same sex marriages. They clearly didn't say that in this opinion," Carrol said.

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