Turnaround Tuesday anniversary, Obama in Selma and same-sex marriage update

Mar 9, 2015

Selma City Councilman Benny Lee Tucker

The City of Selma remembered the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” over the weekend. But today marks another milestone in the civil rights movement.

Saturday was the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in 1965. Today marks 50 years since the second march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge called Turnaround Tuesday. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led that protest himself, but turned back before state troopers could attack like they did just two days prior.

Selma city councilman Benny Lee Tucker was a teenager in 1965. He says he had a specific job during King’s march…

“If you see someone going to shoot him, then you throw your body over him and take the bullet. And I said, 'I’ll do it.'”

President Obama spoke during Saturday’s “Bloody Sunday” observance. He called on Congress to restore part of the voting rights act struck down due to a lawsuit filed in Shelby County.

Thousands of people crowded the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to remember "Bloody Sunday." Concerts, lectures, and other ceremonies were held to commemorate the voting rights marches in 1965.

President Obama addressed the crowd from the foot of the bridge. He says they are there to not only remember the events, but the people who marched into the annals of history.

‘We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy-clubs and the chastening rod, tear gas and the trampling hoof. Men and women who, despite the gush of blood and splintered bone, would stay true to their north star and keep marching towards justice.”

The President went on to talk about how the actions of those men and women inspired others not only in the United States but all over the world, citing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the current unrest in Ukraine.

A coalition of civil rights organizations including the SPLC and ACLU filed a motion asking a federal judge to order Alabama's probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The request will also add plaintiffs to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban.

The motion, filed in Mobile on Friday, asks for Alabama judges to issue marriage licenses regardless of a couple's sexual orientation and to give equal legal protection to marriages of same-sex couples. The groups are also seeking class-action status for the suit; which would then include all Alabama same-sex couples who wish to marry.

Last Tuesday, Alabama's Supreme Court issued a ruling that halted future same-sex marriage in the state, despite the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to hear Alabama's appeal of a federal court's original decision.

All courts involved will be bound by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the same-sex marriage issue nationally. They are expected to hear arguments on the issue beginning next month and will likely rule in June.

Governor Robert Bentley recently awarded several grants to help fund programs providing assistance to survivors of domestic abuse in Alabama.

The Department of Economic and Community Affairs says Bentley awarded nearly $40,000 to the Marion County Commission. That grant supports a program that helps prosecute domestic violence cases in both Marion and Winston Counties.

The governor also awarded over $85,000 to fund an Escambia County program to help the district attorney and sheriff's office investigate domestic violence cases there. That grant money will also help the county provide counseling for domestic violence victims.

A separate grant of nearly $50,000 was awarded to the Marshall County District Attorney's office in order to fund a similar domestic violence program to the one being established in Escambia County.