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Alabama Poised to Fight Gay Marriage Ruling

MOBILE, Ala. (CN) - The state of Alabama is appealing a federal judge's ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

On Monday, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange filed notice with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying it would challenge the ruling by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade.

On Friday, Judge Granade ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but she issued a 14-day stay on her decision to give the state time to appeal.

Judge Granade issued her opinion in a case filed by Cari Searcy, who sued the state when a petition to adopt her same-sex partner's biological son was denied because the couple are not recognized as legally married under Alabama Law.

Searcy and Kimberly McKeand were married in California and they filed a petition under Alabama's adoption code that allows a person to adopt a "spouse's child."

According to Granade's order, their petition was denied based on the "Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment" and the "Alabama Protection Act." Both of these laws state in part, "Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special relationship in encouraging, supporting, and protecting this unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children."

Granade said that under these laws, Alabama does not recognize plaintiffs' marriage and therefore Searcy does not qualify as a "spouse" for adoption purposes.

Plaintiffs had argued the laws violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment while the attorney general, the name defendant in the case, contends that "Alabama has a legitimate interest in protecting the ties between children and their biological parents and other biological kin."

In her opinion, Granade said the attorney general does not "explain how allowing or recognizing same-sex marriage between two consenting adults will prevent heterosexual parents or other biological kin from caring for their biological children." Granade continued, "Alabama does not exclude from marriage any other couples who are either unwilling or unable to biologically procreate. There is no law prohibiting infertile couples, elderly couples, or couples who do not wish to procreate from marrying."

Granade wrote that the laws are an "irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama" and rather than "promoting optimal environments for children", the Sanctity laws harm children of same-sex couples because they are denied the same rights and benefits given by state and federal governments to families who are "legally wed."

Granade's stay is currently set to expire on February 9. Between She said she would issue a separate order before then to clarify the effect of her ruling on those seeking and issuing marriage licenses.

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