Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the U.S. state of Alabama face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Alabama, but same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

Laws against homosexualityEdit

See also: Sodomy laws in the United States#State laws prior to 2003 invalidation

Homosexuality has been legal in Alabama since 2003, when the United States Supreme Court struck down all state sodomy laws with Lawrence v. Texas.

Recognition of same-sex couples Edit

After the passage of the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment by 81% in 2006, both same-sex marriages and civil unions have been constitutionally banned in Alabama. The measure is not believed to deprive the state or counties from creating a form of domestic partnership, however.

Hate crimes lawsEdit

Alabama has had a state‐specific hate crimes law since 1994 applicable to “race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or physical or mental disability.” The current law does not apply to crimes committed on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.[1]

On April 24, 2009, State Representative Alvin Holmes introduced HB533, a bill that would have added sexual orientation to the list of hate crime qualifications;[2] it was passed by the Alabama House of Representatives by a margin of 46 to 41.[3][4][5] The bill was subsequently passed by the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee, but was not acted upon by the full senate before the legislature adjourned on May 15, 2009;[6] this inaction effectively killed the bill.[4]

State Representative Patricia Todd, the legislature’s first and only openly‐LGBT member, had unsuccessfully attempted to add gender identity to the failed bill via legislative amendment, but was opposed by Holmes and other legislators. Holmes justified his position with the thought that his bill—which only explicitly covered “sexual orientation”—would nevertheless protect persons victimized as a result of their gender identity.[5]

Holmes had introduced identical bills in previous sessions: HB829 (2008),[7] HB247 (2007),[8] HB57 (2006),[9] HB423 (2001),[10] HB85 (2000),[11] and has pushed for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the hate crimes law since, at least, 1999.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. Alabama Hate Crimes Law
  2. Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2009
  3. On gay rights, two steps forward, one step back in the Alabama house
  4. 4.0 4.1 Alabama pays for Legislature’s dead bills
  5. 5.0 5.1 House Oks adding sexual orientation to hate crimes law, which now goes to Senate
  6. Session Adjourn / Convene
  7. Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2008
  8. Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2007
  9. Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2006
  10. Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2001
  11. Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2000
  12. Committee adds sexual orientation to hate crimes

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