Agerton: Same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses

Published 11:25 am Friday, June 26, 2015

Following the Supreme Court’s historic decision Friday to legalize same-sex marriages, Escambia County Probate Judge Doug Agerton said local couples can apply for a license now. However, those licenses will not be issued until Monday at 10 a.m.

Until today, Alabama was one 14 states in the U.S. to enforce a ban on same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 decision is the outcome is the culmination of two decades of litigation over marriage and gay rights.

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Agerton said his office has been “flooded” with calls from area residents and other citizens with inquiries on when they can obtain same-sex marriage licenses.

Earlier this year, the Escambia County probate office declared at least one party must be a county resident to obtain a marriage license. That policy will remain in effect, no matter the license type, Agerton said.

“We don’t perform marriage ceremonies at the courthouse,” Agerton said. ”We only issue the license. That license actually comes from the health department’s office of vital statistics. It basically tells the person marrying the couple that we took the necessary steps and asked all the questions for that couple to get a license.

“Each license is stamped as approved by the Escambia County Probate Office,” he said. “It’s not signed by me. You don’t need my blessing to get married in Escambia County,”

Agerton said residents should know that no licenses — whether for same-sex or heterosexual couples — will be issued today.

“You can come in and apply, but you won’t get your licenses until Monday after 10 a.m.,” he said.

Brewton Standard publisher Stephanie Nelson wrote this story.