A federal judge struck down a law banning gay marriage in the state of Alabama on Friday, making the state the 37th in the United States to authorize same-sex marriage, as indicated via the Human Rights Campaign's Marriage Center.
"If anything, Alabama’s prohibition of same-sex marriage detracts from its goal of promoting optimal environments for children," United States District Judge Callie "Ginny" Granade stated in her official ruling. "Those children currently being raised by same-sex parents in Alabama are just as worthy of protection and recognition by the State as are the children being raised by opposite-sex parents."
The case was brought by Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand of Mobile, Alabama, when the state refused to recognize their marriage performed in California. The couple had been together for more than 10 years and had a child together, but Searcy was not recognized as the child's adoptive parent, as reported by alabamanews.net.
According to reports, the judge struck down the 2006 amendment to the Alabama Constitution, as well as a state statute, ruling that both were in violation of the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution.
Despite contention from the state Attorney General's Office, which plans to fight the ruling, Searcy and McKeand are pleased with the outcome.
"It's amazing. I was not expecting it at all (on Friday). Happy, happy news. I kind of expected them to sit on it because of the Supreme Court," Searcy told AL.com. "It's so encouraging that we got a positive ruling from our home state.
"Love did win," she added.
Searcy and McKeand garnered media attention back in October of 2014 via the couple's page on iamaparent.com, then attempting to raise funds that would ultimately help pave the way to same-sex union equality in Alabama.
"We would like to thank everyone who has reached out to show their love and support to our family as we continue to fight for equality here in Alabama!," Searcy posted on her Facebook page back in October, asking friends and page visitors to donate what they could to the family's cause.
Among a myriad of national supporters, the Human Rights Campaign expressed it's endorsement following the ruling.
"Judge Granade's ruling today affirms what we already know to be true - that all loving, committed Alabama couples should have the right to marry," Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a prepared statement accessed by AL.com.
"As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark case on marriage equality, today's ruling joins the dozens and dozens of others that have recognized that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve equal treatment under the law."