The Southern Poverty Law Center just filed suit on behalf of couples in Alabama who are unable to marry because one of the couple is an illegal alien in the U.S. The complaint is that the Montgomery County Probate Office is unwilling to allow couples to marry if the couple cannot show lawful immigration status in the U.S.
The SPLC will very likely win this law suit. No State should be able to prevent couples from marrying unless it has a compelling State interest. Immigration status is a Federal, not State, interest.
The 14th Amendment of our U.S. Constitution requires that States must protect and respect the right of individuals to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. In a landmark decision in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia law which sought to prevent a white and black couple from marrying. The Virginia law trampled on the rights of individuals to marry under Due Process and Equal Protection principles.
In the current law suit, the SPLC points out that the Attorney General for Alabama issued an opinion in 2004 that residents of Alabama do not need to be U.S. citizens to marry there.
If you feel you are unable to marry in one of our 50 states because your spouse is an undocumented foreigner, it may be worth your while to determine what rights you may have in marrying your loved one.
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