Southern Poverty Law Center

Newscast
9:28 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Granade Issues Same-Sex Ruling, Busy Travel Weekend Expected

A federal judge has ruled once more that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S Supreme Court issues their ruling on same-sex marriage nationally.

U.S District Judge Callie Granade ruled yesterday saying once again that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered all probate judges to stop enforcing that ban. But her order won’t go into effect until a U.S. Supreme Court decision which is expected to be handed down sometime next month.

Read more
Newscast
8:56 am
Mon March 9, 2015

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

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…

Read more
Same-Sex Marriage
7:31 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Groups seek class-action lawsuit on same-sex marriage

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade

A coalition of civil rights organizations 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.

Read more
Newscast
8:27 am
Thu March 5, 2015

SPLC response to Supreme Court decision, Alabama charter schools and food insecurity fundraiser

Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center

The latest twist in Alabama's same sex marriage controversy drew a quick response from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that probate judges have to stop issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The state’s probate judges will be required to adhere to Alabama law defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, even though a federal district court declared that law unconstitutional in late January.

Richard Cohen is the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He says he’s disappointed in the court’s ruling.

Read more
Newscast
9:17 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Same-sex marriage hurdles and Birmingham school tax increase

Meredith Bagley and Alexandria Davenport with their Vermont marriage license

Alabama became the 37th state to legalize same-sex marriage yesterday.

Couples throughout Alabama have been applying for – and receiving – marriage licenses. But some judges are refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, despite the threat of steep penalties.

Meredith Bagley and Alexandrea Davenport, both faculty at the University of Alabama, were married in Vermont five years ago, but they wanted to get an Alabama marriage license now that same-sex marriage is legal.

But when they went in to apply at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse yesterday morning?

Read more
Newscast
9:13 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Moore blocking same-sex marriage, Urban Farm Camp and climber rescued

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Same-sex marriage is officially legal in Alabama starting today, but Chief Justice Roy Moore is doing everything he can to stand in its way.

Moore issued a letter last night ordering all state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He argues that the federal district court’s ruling does not trump state law.

Ben Cooper is the chairman of Equality Alabama, a volunteer organization defending LGBTQ rights in Alabama. We spoke with Cooper before the law took effect, and he said some of these challenges were expected.

Read more
Newscast
5:44 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Bentley Inaugurated, MLK Day and Scale Back Alabama

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

  Governor Robert Bentley says there are no easy solutions to the state's budget and prison problems. Bentley, in his second inaugural address, said state leaders face tough decisions as they come into office for the next four years. However, Bentley said state leaders will not shrink away from the challenge.

     A budget shortfall and the state's severely overcrowded prisons are expected to be the biggest problems facing the Legislature when it convenes in March. The governor is expected to give his proposals when he gives his State of the State address in March.

     

Read more
Razor Policy
5:57 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

New Razor Policy in Alabama Prisons

Prison toiletries
Credit Washington Post

Alabama prisons are changing the way razors are distributed.

The change comes from an agreement with lawyers for inmates suing the state over medical care.  Attorneys had accused the state of giving razor blades to inmates who were known to be suicidal or mentally ill, leading to repeated suicide attempts.

Read more
Immigration Law Challenge
4:12 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Alabama Won't Publish Immigration List

Alabama has agreed not to enforce a provision of the state's controversial immigration law that required the state to publish a list of people known to be unlawfully in the country.
Credit Florida Atlantic University

Alabama has agreed not to enforce a provision of the state's controversial immigration law that required the state to publish a list of people known to be unlawfully in the country.

Lawyers say they have reached a settlement agreement in the lawsuit challenging what critics called a "scarlet letter list."

The 2012 law required the state to publish a list of people living in the state illegally who have been arrested.

Read more
Alabama Prisons-Razors
4:01 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Groups Ask Ala. Prisons To Limit Razor Distribution

Advocacy groups say Alabama prisons are giving inmates virtually unlimited access to razors, a practice that's leading to deaths and injuries inside the lockups.
Credit istockphoto

Advocacy groups say Alabama prisons are giving inmates virtually unlimited access to razors, a practice that's leading to deaths and injuries inside the lockups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program asked a court Thursday to bar prisons from freely distributing razor blades to male inmates.

The groups are making the request on behalf of prisoners who've tried to kill themselves using the razors. They say razors are being distributed even after an inmate used one to kill himself at Limestone prison in 2011.

Read more
Montgomery-Jailing Debtors
4:23 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Ala. City Settles Suits Over Jailing Court Debtors

The city of Montgomery is settling lawsuits that accuse it of wrongfully jailing people who can't pay fines.

The city of Montgomery is settling lawsuits that accuse it of wrongfully jailing people who can't pay fines.

The Southern Poverty Law Center represents two people involved in the suits and calls the agreement a victory for low-income residents.

The settlement results from lawsuits filed by people who were jailed for accumulating thousands of dollars of unpaid court fines and fees. The suit claims the practice of jailing debtors violates a past Supreme Court ruling.

Court documents show the city will review all cases and follow Supreme Court decisions on the issue.

Read more
Payday Lending
4:44 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Ala. Judge Throws Out Suit Targeting Loan Database

A state judge has thrown out a lawsuit from payday lenders looking to challenge regulations requiring a central database to track payday loans.
Credit Jason Comely / Flickr

A state judge has thrown out a lawsuit from payday lenders looking to challenge regulations requiring a central database to track payday loans.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports a Montgomery judge ruled that the State Banking Department didn't exceed its authority last year by ordering a $500 cap on payday loans and a database to make sure consumers didn't have multiple loans out for more than that amount at one time.

Read more
Business & Education
5:29 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Complaints Lead to New Student Enrollment Forms

Tommy Bice
Credit The Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama's school superintendent is telling all Alabama public school systems to start using a new student enrollment process that makes clear a Social Security number or birth certificate is not necessary for enrollment.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:21 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Law Center Appeals Accountability Act Ruling

Credit guidestar.org

The Southern Poverty Law Center is taking its legal challenge of the Alabama Accountability Act to a federal appeals court.

The Montgomery-based group has asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a federal judge's decision rejecting the law center's challenge of the state law.

Read more
Alabama Prison Suit
4:29 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Groups Sue Over Alabama Prison Conditions

Two advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the Alabama prison system, claiming the state is failing to provide basic medical and mental health care to inmates.
Credit istockphoto

Two advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the Alabama prison system, claiming the state is failing to provide basic medical and mental health care to inmates.

Attorney Maria Morris of the Southern Poverty Law Center says a lack of adequate medical care is causing inmate suffering and even deaths.

The SPLC and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Center filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Montgomery on behalf of about 40 inmates.

Read more

Pages