Why Alabama’s New Gifts Rule For Lawmakers Must Exclude Gay Spouses: The State Doesn’t Recognize Them

Snaps to Alabama’s Democratic Rep. Patricia Todd, who confronted the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in a round-about way this week. Lawmakers in the state, which bans gay marriage or its likeness via the Alabama Marriage Protection Act, were debating a bill that would limit what types of gifts legislators and their spouses can receive. Rightly confused, Todd asked the bill’s sponsor Republican Rep. Jim McClendon whether the rules would apply to Todd’s lesbian partner, whom Todd says she legally married in another state. McClendon responded: It’s an “interesting dilemma,” but he did not have an answer. I have one! Todd, the only openly gay Alabama state lawmaker, is immune from the bill, and her spouse should immediately begin accepting free cars, trips, and landscaping work from any lobbyist or business owner who wants to wield influence in Montgomery. (Alas, it’s likely a revised version of the bill will apply the gifting rules to lawmakers and anyone in their household, regardless of marital status, but still, that was a fun exercise.)