HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — During June the LGBTQI+ community is celebrated nationally as part of Pride Month. After being denied a marriage license in the Wiregrass four times, the first married gay couple in Houston County is reflecting on their struggles of getting that marriage license.
After being engaged for over a year and fighting with the Alabama court system to issue a marriage license, Keith Ingram and Albert Pigg were finally married in June of 2015, thus, becoming the first gay couple to tie the knot in Houston County.
“It wasn’t so much about us, yes we wanted to be married, we hope to be together forever,” Ingram said. “We also have to think about the couples that may not do the same thing that may be afraid; that may not be able to step out and to talk and to have pride in who they are.”
According to the two, love was just one of the reasons they needed to marry. The couple felt getting a marriage license was vital to be protected in case of emergencies.
They want to make clear, that their fight wasn’t just about them but for those who may be scared to fully live their lives.
“We didn’t do it just to be like the first or just to have it on paper,” Pigg said. “It was for several reasons like protection and for my dedication and love for him.”
For about 6 months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage, Houston County was one of many counties in the state refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couples.
Many probate judges believed they were caught between the directives of both state and federal courts.
“Judge Davenport, I don’t hold anything against him,” Ingram said. “I do feel like he was doing his job. Unfortunately, he was led by Judge Roy Moore not to issue marriage licenses.”
However, with the recent SCOTUS ruling reversing Roe v. Wade, they feel that those protections could soon be a thing of the past for LGBTQI+ couples in Alabama. With Justice Clarence Thomas adding the court should reconsider past rulings like same-sex marriages.
They believe Alabama lawmakers will act fast reversing major strides if given the opportunity.
“Alabama is not changing. The federal government is forcing them to change,” Pigg said. “They didn’t ratify gay marriage, the federal government did, and they just accepted it after they were forced to accept it.”
The couple says although many in the community might not understand why someone has certain beliefs or who they choose to love, it’s important to show respect still because everyone is a human who deserves to have their life valued.