SPLC fights for right to marry for illegal immigrants

By Carol Robinson
The Birmingham News
Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011, 1:40 PM

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Southern Poverty Law Center today filed a second lawsuit challenging the practice in many Alabama counties that denies illegal immigrants the right to marry.

The practice, according to SPLC officials, also extends to U.S. citizens whose intended spouses are illegal immigrants.

According to a press release issued today, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of two couples, including Charelle Loder, a U.S. citizen, and "Jack Doe," and undocumented immigrant from Haiti.

Loder and "Jack Doe" are engaged and have lived together for five years. He was born in Haiti, but has lived in the U.S. most of his life. He is the only father Loder's daughter has ever known.

They can't get married, according to SPLC officials, because they can't get a marriage license in Montgomery County or from the offices of a majority of probate judges in Alabama because "Jack Doe" can't provide proof of legal residence or a Social Security card.

The lawsuit cites a 2004 opinion from the Alabama Attorney General's Office that states "a marriage license can be issued to an applicant who is not a U.S. citizen."

Last month, the SPLC filed an initial challenge, which led to 13 Alabama counties either ending the practice or affirming they are abiding by the law and marrying individuals regardless of their immigration status. Those counties are Coosa, Crenshaw, Houston, Jefferson, Marengo, Mobile, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Wilcox and Winston.

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/11/spl ... marry.html