Gov. on AL gay marriage ban: 'This is how the people feel' - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gov. on AL gay marriage ban: 'This is how the people feel'

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Gov. Bentley: "Whatever the people vote on, I support." Gov. Bentley: "Whatever the people vote on, I support."
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WAFF) -

The governor of Pennsylvania said Wednesday he will not challenge Tuesday's ruling striking down a ban on gay marriages in that state.

With that move, 19 states now allow gay marriage. Several others are in legal limbo, with bans struck down but appeals pending or with limited pro-gay marriage rulings.

Still others, like Alabama, face legal challenges that have yet to go to trial, or are awaiting a decision.

Only two states – North and South Dakota – do not allow gay marriage and have no pending legal challenges.

Both Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange have vowed to fight the two challenges the state's ban is facing. Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year, no ban in any state has survived a legal challenge.

One of the suits was brought by a Montgomery man who was married in Massachusetts. His husband was killed in a car accident and he said Alabama won't recognize his rights to bring a wrongful death suit.

The other suit was brought by a lesbian couple in Mobile. Cari Searcy said her marriage in California to Kim McKeand isn't recognized in Alabama. Searcy said the couple doesn't receive tax breaks and other recognition that other couples receive. Because their marriage isn't recognized in Alabama, it prevents Searcy from being recognized as a legal parent of her McKeand's son.

Governor Bentley and the Attorney General were summoned to testify in Searcy's case. Wednesday, Bentley said he will defend the law as strongly as he can.

"I have to defend the constitution," Bentley said. "I have to defend the laws of the state. I don't pass the laws. The legislature passes the laws, the people vote on the constitutional amendments. I am the executive for the state and I have to defend the laws of the state."

"Laws change; people's ideas change," he continued. "The people of Alabama voted 81 percent to have the ban on same-sex marriage, and it's in our constitution. Whatever the people vote on, I support. I believe in the people's right to vote and this is how they feel, so I support the people."

Supporters of same-sex marriage said an unconstitutional law is still unconstitutional, whether it is popular with voters or not. Federal judges have cited the 14th Amendment, which grants equal protection under the law, as the reason the other bans are being struck down.

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