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Jackson County issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- For the first time Jackson County is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Probate Judge Victor Manning tells us after much discussion and research, he felt it was the appropriate move to make within the laws at hand.

Since Monday, the office had not been issuing licenses to anyone -- same-sex or not.

Tonie Guthrie and Clara Brownfield came to the probate office early on Wednesday to do what they couldn't all week -- get a marriage license. "They took our name and information and told us they would call us just as soon as the matter was resolved," Guthrie says. That was Tuesday, when the office was not issuing licenses to anyone.

After the change, it was couples like them who were filling out the forms Wednesday. In fact, we're told there was only one same-sex couple who came in asking for a marriage license all week in Jackson County.

There have been a lot of phone calls, though, from people asking if it's an opportunity in one of Alabama's largest counties.

As of the end of business on Wednesday, the office had issued marriage licenses to two couples, none of which were same-sex.

The office stopped performing marriage ceremonies last month, saying the existing workload coupled with staffing shortcomings proved to put a strain on the office.