PROUD. Historical same-sex marriage USA ruling creates a megatrend for a progressive world

Gay couples rush to get married after Supreme Court ruling – but some Conservatives still object
Amid rush of couples celebrating historic ruling with spontaneous weddings, Southern politicians voice concerns about ‘religious freedom’.

Associated Press in Louisville

The White House illuminated in rainbow colours to commemorate the ruling (top), while same-sex couples rush to celebrate with spontaneous weddings across the nation.Photos: AP, AFP, Reuters

Benjamin Moore and Tadd Roberts wore matching tuxedos to the county clerk’s office in Louisville to get married on Friday, and the mayor greeted them with a bottle of champagne.

They were among a rush of gay couples across the South and Midwest who celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling legalising same-sex marriage with spontaneous weddings.

They were young and old, they wore gowns and suits or T-shirts and jeans, they kissed and waved flags that read “love wins”.

“It’s just been incredible and historic and amazing to live this moment,” Moore said.

The mayor took commemorative photos of him and Roberts getting their licence.

But the reaction wasn’t as welcoming in some of the 14 states that had been the last hold-outs against same-sex marriage, creating confusion as some officials embraced the ruling and others rebuffed it.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has long fought against same-sex marriage, said states can fight the ruling, as they have decisions allowing slavery or abortion, and predicted that it would spark a national backlash from Christian conservatives.

“They’ve just disregarded everything that precedent holds, and they’ve destroyed the foundation of our country which is family,” Moore said.

In rural Alabama, Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said he would stop issuing all marriage licences to avoid having to give them to gay couples. Allen said Alabama the law gives judges the option of granting licences, and “I have chosen not to perform that function”.

Governors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also railed against the ruling.

And clerks in some of the affected states refused to issue licences, citing a three-week grace period allowed by the Supreme Court or forms now out of date that specify “bride” and “groom”.

But by Friday afternoon, couples had received licences in all but one of the 14 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

In Louisiana, where Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is running for the White House as a conservative Christian, same-sex couples were turned away.

“It was kind of bittersweet,” said Earl Benjamin, who waited with his partner for hours for a licence and was finally told the state’s ban on same-sex marriage remained intact – for now.

In Texas, many counties held off on issuing same-sex marriage licences until receiving guidance from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who scolded the Supreme Court but left counties in limbo for hours.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said Friday that same-sex marriages cannot take place immediately. But amid the confusion over when weddings should legally begin, three couples received their marriage licences in Hattiesburg, and took their vows on the courthouse steps.

Some Southern politicians said they were concerned about the “religious freedom” of ministers, cake bakers and others who might be asked to participate in ceremonies.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott issued a memo saying the government should not pressure people to violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

He later clarified that he does not condone discrimination or authorise state agencies to deny benefits to same-sex couples.

Jindal also issued a statement vowing to never stop fighting for “religious liberty”.

“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he wrote.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as States divided overSupreme Court ruling

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 June, 2015, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 June, 2015, 11:02pm

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