Come Monday, unless the Supreme Court steps in, Alabama will be put upon to allow gay marriage. No one is sure of anything much. The Supreme Court has shown no tendency to get involved, and just sat back on this issue for a while.
In the state? It's hard to tell the general reaction. If you read most newspapers....there's the anti-gay marriage crowd out in full force, and there's the pro-gay marriage crowd out in full force. Right now, based on news reports....folks are expecting between twenty and fifty couples appearing to get their one-sex marriage license on Monday.
Several state and county judges have said they won't do such a ceremony.....and they indicate that it's not written down to force them to perform such a ceremony. The way to get around the court order? These guys won't do anyone.....not straight couples.....not gay couples....no one.
Bama state law says that anyone who is a resident of the state can apply for a license, and be married in any of the sixty-seven counties. Who can marry you? Any pastor or minister of a recognized religion within the state, or county/state judges (active and retired). How many of such individuals exist? I'd take a guess between six and eight thousand such individuals within the state (four and a half-million residents).
Yeah, we have a fair number of churches in the state. Bama folks openly brag about their churches, their ministers, and their various paths to heaven (even if they do commit sins, drink hard on Saturday evenings, and gamble a bit).
How many judges and ministers will refrain from marrying gay couples? I will guess eighty-percent will find some reason. The participating judges against this....might all just say they won't marry anyone. The ministers? Well....how would you force them? Fed law? Non-existent. State law? Non-existent. Some fed judge just ordering you to do something, without a law to back him up? It'd drag this all out into another bigger mess....if you ask me.
If this went forward.....how many gay couples would be married by the end of 2015? I'd take a humble guess on this, and assume that about 500 such marriages would occur by 1 January 2016. We'd likely peak out this year, and probably see a yearly sum of 250-odd marriages from 2016 on.....with at least fifty gay couples a year getting divorced as we got a year or two into this.
Church acceptance? Being from Bama, I'd say two or three religions would have zero problems with this. The bulk of the rest would find folks pretty focused on "no"....firing ministers who suggested that they move on, and getting deacons drawn into chat forums that just didn't get any real solution on the table. You might find a dozen-odd religions who could be drawn into a long debate and locals either accept the idea or leave the participation of the church. 2015 might be one of those years when some churches find themselves with only half the membership that they had last year....because of their stand for gay marriage or stand against gay marriage.
On the religious view.....I'd take a guess that a handful of newly created religions will come to exist....with modern topics fully accepted by the minister and his deacons. Yeah, you might have a pro-gay marriage church.....fully supportive of marijuana....approving of various lifestyles (bondage or freaky piercings) that most Bama folks frown upon and able to support a membership roll of forty-four members.
I'd take a guess that the local newspaper from my home county on Monday...will have one reporter standing there at the county clerk's window all day.....waiting for one single gay couple to appear and get noted in the newspaper as the first such couple in Lauderdale county. Oddly, right behind the noted and highly reported couple will be another couple....some guy in his mid-thirties and a fifteen-year old gal who has mama's permission to marry Conrad (the local goat enthusiast). It might be a better story to tell....mid-thirties guy and a fifteen year old wife....a local goat farm family to be.....but the big focus would be on Misty and Candy (two Burger King employees) who are both forty years old and of one particular sex. If you ask me.....no one much will care about the two lesbians getting married and would prefer to hear about the goat farmer and his teenage wife.
Well....it's all good, as we say in Bama. Marriages come and go, churches hire and fire ministers, and political folks fall into significant scandals on a weekly basis within the state. Life goes on.