Linda Smith, a U.S. citizen, and “John Doe,” an undocumented immigrant, had been a couple for more than nine years. When they decided to marry, they could not obtain a marriage license from the Montgomery County Probate Office in Alabama because it denied licenses to couples unable to prove both partners have legal immigration status. The policy was not required by any federal or state law.
The SPLC filed a lawsuit challenging the policy and seeking class action status to represent couples across the state who would be denied marriage licenses. Fifty-four of Alabama’s 67 counties enforced such a policy.