Exclusive: Patricia Todd talks about recent marriage and gay ma - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Exclusive: Patricia Todd talks about recent marriage and gay marriage in Alabama

Posted: Updated:

 

Looking over pictures of their Massachusetts wedding, Patricia Todd and her wife, Jennifer Clarke, are enjoying life together as one. 

"We did this because we wanted to make a commitment before our friends, family, and God about our love for each other," said Patricia Todd, Alabama's only openly gay state representative in an exclusive interview with ABC 33/40's Larry Miller.   

The wedding was officiated by Clarke's 25 year old daughter.  Each woman was escorted down the isle by a previous partner.  They say besides the fact that its two women committing their lives to one another, their relationship is no different than that of a heterosexual couple. 

"We have the same issues that every other couple does; money and all the things.  But we have a great relationship and a great trust for each other and a great support system. So, we work on everything that we think is an issue." said Todd.  

"I am very proud of my relationship with Patricia. I'm thrilled to be able to make such a public commitment to her," said Jennifer Clarke, Todd's wife. 
 
Todd said she and her wife are just one of hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in Alabama forced to travel to other states in order to get married.  

Alabama's Sanctity of Marriage Amendment defines marriages as a unique relationship between a man and a women.  The amendment also prohibits gay marriage in the state. Even same-sex marriages performed outside of the Alabama aren't recognized. For gay and lesbian couples, there is no legal protection under the law.
   
"To have lived in a state that has legal gay marriage and coming to a state that did not offer that has been somewhat of a culture shock for me," said Clarke. 

There have been some successes for same gender loving individuals. In June, the US Supreme Court called the federal government's Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and dismissed a gay marriage ban in California. 

"I never thought I would get married again but when the Supreme court decision struck down DOMA. It gave me a little ray of hope," said Todd. 

Feeling encourage about the growing acceptance of same-sex marriages and the legal wins in court, Todd prefiled a constitutional amendment that would repeal Alabama's ban on gay marriage.  She admits the likelihood that it will pass is slim to none.  If nothing less, the proposed amendment will help ignite a renewed conversation about gay unions. 

"We don't want anything more than any other couple does.  We just want equality," said Todd. 

Jeremy Rutledge, 24, of Pell City, also has a hand in trying to persuade state leaders to reconsider gay marriage.  He organized a petition on a website called www.change.org. According Rutledge, he has collected nearly 8,000 signatures.  The majority of those of signed the petition are from Alabama. His goal is 20,000 signatures that he will submit to Governor Robert Bentley's office, who has supported and defined marriage as a relationship between 'a man and a woman'. 
 
"Even though the chances are slim, its something that I feel obligated to fight for because I want that. I want the right to marry whomever I love.  So, I'm not going to give up," said Rutledge confidently. 

As an openly gay male, Rutledge has endured harassment because of his sexual orientation. He says what people fail to understand is that being gay wasn't something he chose. 

"People are quick to judge you for who you are. They don't realize  that we're all the same," said Rutledge.  

Todd and Rutledge acknowledge they're fighting an uphill battle in a state deeply rooted in Christian values.  They say they'll continue to fight for the sake of everyone, gay or straight, who call Alabama home. 


 

  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:52 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:52:27 GMT
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
  • Active shooter drill and training at Etowah County Judicial Center

    Active shooter drill and training at Etowah County Judicial Center

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:04:12 GMT
    Etowah County Judicial Center staff barricaded themselves in their offices Friday morning, as security deputies searched for armed intruders. The guns were bright orange and solid rubber, as the scenarioMore >>
    Etowah County Judicial Center staff barricaded themselves in their offices Friday morning, as security deputies searched for armed intruders. The guns were bright orange and solid rubber, as the scenarioMore >>
  • Active shooter drill in Etowah County today

    Active shooter drill in Etowah County today

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:22 AM EDT2014-04-18 09:22:38 GMT
    An active shooter drill will take place at the Etowah County Courthouse Friday, April 18, 2014.It's part of training for law enforcement. A full-scale simulation of an active shooter inside the JudicialMore >>
     A full-scale simulation of an active shooter inside the Judicial Building will allow law enforcement officers to prepare for a real life situation.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • 13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

    13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

    Sunday, April 20 2014 1:53 AM EDT2014-04-20 05:53:09 GMT
    Rescuers were digging through piles of snow and ice Saturday for four Sherpa guides buried on Mount Everest when an avalanche swept down the slopes and killed 12 other Nepalese guides in the deadliest disaster on...More >>
    Nepal's authorities temporarily halted climbing on Mount Everest while search teams dug through snow and ice Sunday for three Sherpa guides missing in the deadliest avalanche on the world's highest peak that killed...More >>
  • Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:52 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:52:27 GMT
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
  • Police believe former student is behind threat at UNA

    Police believe former student is behind threat at UNA

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:23 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:23:32 GMT
    University of North Alabama police say that 22-year-old Brian Mitchell of Madison, Alabama surrendered to police on Friday. Police say Mitchell is behind a message posted on social media site, Yik Yak,More >>
    University of North Alabama police say that 22-year-old from of Madison, Alabama surrendered to police on Friday.More >>
  • Alabama defense dominates spring game

    Alabama defense dominates spring game

    Blake Sims' bid to replace AJ McCarron as Alabama's starting quarterback hit a snag Saturday afternoon when the Crimson Tide defense dominated the annual A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.More >>
    Blake Sims' bid to replace AJ McCarron as Alabama's starting quarterback hit a snag Saturday afternoon when the Crimson Tide defense dominated the annual A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.More >>
  • Marshall leads Auburn 1st team to rout of 2nd team

    Marshall leads Auburn 1st team to rout of 2nd team

    Nick Marshall threw four touchdowns in two quarters as Auburn's first team routed its second team 58-3 on Saturday in a spring football game.More >>
    Nick Marshall threw four touchdowns in two quarters as Auburn's first team routed its second team 58-3 on Saturday in a spring football game.More >>
  • Crime Stoppers April 19: Who took Manquel Mertez Whittsett's life?

    Crime Stoppers April 19: Who took Manquel Mertez Whittsett's life?

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:00:10 GMT
    It hasn't even been a year since a Birmingham man lost his life. The homicide happened in the summer of 2013, and police don't want to waste any more time. That's why they're calling on you to help in
    It hasn't even been a year since a Birmingham man lost his life. The homicide happened in the summer of 2013, and police don't want to waste any more time. That's why they're calling on you to help in this unsolved killing.More >>
  • Two families lose homes during apartment fire

    Two families lose homes during apartment fire

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:45:09 GMT
    Two families lost their homes during a fire Friday night at the Crestwood Hills Apartments in the 1200 block of 49th Place South in Birmingham. Firefighters responded around 9:30pm and they had the fireMore >>
    Two families lost their homes during a fire Friday night at the Crestwood Hills Apartments.More >>
  • Pickens County lawmen are looking for armed robbery suspects

    Pickens County lawmen are looking for armed robbery suspects

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:20 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:20:19 GMT
    Karen Michelle BarkerKaren Michelle Barker
    Pickens County Sheriff's Office want Karen Michelle Barker and Anthony Glenn Poe in custody. Lawmen say the duo followed a lady home and robbed her as she exited her vehicle. It happened around 12pm onMore >>
    Pickens County Sheriff's Office want Karen Michelle Barker and Anthony Glenn Poe in custody.More >>