Alabama Used the States’ Right Argument to Ban Marriages Before — for Interracial Couples
In 2000, the state became the last to officially remove its interracial marriage ban from the books. The law was supposed to be unenforceable by then, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia. But some of Alabama’s probate judges still reportedly refused to grant marriage licenses to interracial couples in 1999, and nearly 41 percent of the state’s voters voted to keep the ban.
In 2006, roughly 81 percent of the state’s voters voted for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a “unique relationship between a man and a woman.” Moore cited the overwhelming consensus in his CNN interview as evidence his state doesn’t want to legalize same-sex marriage. (A 2014 Public Religion Research Institute survey found 59 percent of Alabamians still opposed marriage equality.)
Maybe same-sex marriage isn’t popular in Alabama today. Maybe interracial marriage wasn’t popular there in 1990. To the courts, that’s not supposed to matter: if a law violates the 14th Amendment, it’s unconstitutional and must be struck down.