Alabama House Committee Approves Bill to Abolish Marriage Licenses in State

Wedding Bible Credit Nat Arnett-compressedMONTGOMERY, Ala. — A House committee in Alabama has approved a bill that would abolish the use of marriage licenses in the state and end solemnization requirements, a move that some believe will remove Alabama from the argument over same-sex nuptials.

Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Bay Minette, introduced S.B. 143 in February, which states that one of its purposes is to “abolish the requirement that a marriage license be issued by the judge of probate and replace existing state statutory marriage law with a statutory contract for marriage.”

“All requirements to obtain a marriage license by the State of Alabama are hereby abolished and repealed. The requirement of a ceremony of marriage to solemnized the marriage is abolished,” it reads in part.

Under current law, those desiring to marry must obtain a license, have the union solemnized either in a ceremony or before a judge, and have the license then signed by the officiator.

Albritton said that his bill separates church and state as the state would have no part in the marriage and ministers would no longer act on behalf of the state.

“It keeps elected officials from preventing or performing civil ceremonies, but also prevents ministers from performing ceremonies under the auspices of the state,” he told reporters.

Those entering into a marriage would instead submit signed affidavits to their local probate judge, who will record the information and also transfer the contract to the Vital Statistics office.

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The bill was passed in the Senate 23–3 in March, and last Wednesday, it cleared the House Judiciary Committee as well.

But not all are in favor of the measure. Retired Baptist preacher Gary Hardin of Centre told the publication The Alabama Baptist that having couples merely sign a form cheapens the lifelong commitment made before God.

“This is a horrible message to couples,” he said. “By using the terms ‘contract’ or ‘form,’ you have reduced marriage from its high and lofty level—biblically and in the sight of God—to something that is more on the low ground. You are using terminology that devalues marriage.”

“I am not for same-sex ‘marriage.’ I don’t think God approves of that,” Hardin stated. “But the way they have overreacted, they have reduced the sanctity of marriage to a form.”

But Albritton says that the concept of having a marriage license is relatively recent in American history.

“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties. … Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred,” he told the Associate Press when he first proposed the idea last year.

“Something rarely considered by those seeking to control the state’s definition of marriage is that a marriage license means a person requires government permission before getting married,” Yellowhammer News also outlines. “In America, people generally cannot drive a vehicle without a license. People cannot practice law without a license, nor can they provide medical care.”

“Put another way, under a licensing scheme, marriage is not a right, nor a religious institution, but a privilege granted by the state and limited by its requirements,” it says.


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  • gizmo23

    This sounds like a good solution. Marriage has always been just a legal contract to the state anyway. People would still be free to have kind of ceremony they want

  • TheBottomline4This

    It doesn’t matter what states do. God’s way…a man and woman are a marriage. Anything else isn’t a marriage.

    • Jalapeno

      Under your definition, you mean.

      • Snake Plissken

        Snake eats jalapeno.

      • Coach

        No, God established the boundaries, so it’s His definition.

        Jesus stated your problem

        John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know it hated Me before it hated you”.

        You hate God’s truth in the expression of hatred towards anyone who proclaims it.

        Ephesians 5:31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two shall become one flesh”.

        • Jalapeno

          You are aware that many people get married and don’t subscribe to your religious ideals?

          It’s just as much a social and personal idea as a religious one.

          • Coach

            People who don’t acknowledge God also breath, what’s your point?

            “It’s appointed for man to die once, then the judgement”

          • Jalapeno

            It’s kind of relevant to the whole concept of trying to claim that a certain religious definition is the only one that counts.

          • Coach

            God is. Just because people want to make gods to fit themselves doesn’t make them true. Jesus Christ died for sinners, to suggest any other hope is an insult to God, He will judge the world in righteousness. You stand guilty, what’s your defense?

          • Jalapeno

            Sure sure, whatever you say.

            You do understand that other people aren’t obligated to follow your ideals?

          • Coach

            Not mine, it’s God’s truth, the problem is sin and a corrupt nature, I don’t expect people to follow God’s Word who’s nature opposes Him in every way. You must be born again of the Holy Spirit. You’re a blasphemer, who’s violated God’s law.
            Revelation 21:7-8 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
            God’s word will judge you, not because you don’t agree with me, but because you’ve violated His law and have no defense. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, came in the flesh, lived a perfect, sinless life, performed miracles, was rejected by His own, crucified and rose from the grave on the third day as was prophesied prior. Was seen by many believers, ascended into glory and is seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for those whom God draws to Himself and saves.

            It is written “no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him”

          • Jalapeno

            Okay, good. Then we agree.

            People don’t need to pay any attention to your interpretation and it has no impact on any laws, including marriage.

          • Coach

            No, we don’t agree. You serve your master, the devil, I serve my master, Jesus Christ. Your master and all his servants will be cast into hellfire. Apart from the grace of God, I was just as corrupt and hopeless, but have been shown mercy by a holy God, who should only give me the wrath I deserve. God’s word is unchanging and can never be changed to fit depraved society.
            The wrath of God abides on you as you willfully walk in opposition to the Truth. Repent and trust alone in Jesus Christ.

          • Jalapeno

            So you DO want to force your religion into the law?

            I thought that Christians were supposed to be respectful that other people had different beliefs. Guess I was wrong about that, eh?

          • Coach

            There is no law giver, but God, who will judge the world in righteousness. Actually, your religion is being celebrated in the law. Respect for other’s beliefs, I have no respect for lies. You must repent and believe on Jesus Christ.

          • Jalapeno

            So..you’re okay with the fact that people can get married with absolutely nothing to do with your religion?

        • gizmo23

          Didn’t God say that slave marriages weren’t valid, the South 1860

          • http://tequerimus.wordpress.com Sophia Marsden

            No.

          • Mark

            Absolutely NOT. God didn’t say that, mankind used that justification.

          • gizmo23

            And those men were Christians

      • Mark

        No, Under God’s definition. God created and defined marriage, not the state. If you don’t subscribe to God’s word, that’s your choice–but don’t pretend it is truly a marriage then by His definition. Call it a civil union if you want, but you can’t simply hijack God’s design and change it as you see fit.

        • Jalapeno

          “but don’t pretend it is truly a marriage then by His definition.”

          Oh, don’t worry. People who don’t subscribe to a religion don’t tend to care whether or not that religion considers them married. I know I sure don’t.

          Of course..it is still a marriage..by general societal standards as well as legal standards. It’s called marriage too..that’s even the word on the legal document.

          • Mark

            And yet you clearly subscribe to a religion. You may not acknowledge your creator and God’s authority, but you still subscribe to a religion. The good news is you’re still alive, so you still have time to look through the evidencel

          • Jalapeno

            Says who?

            I’ve looked through the evidence, and decided that religion is not for me. It’s cute that you make assumptions like that though.

            Next step, understanding that beliefs within a religion aren’t as important to people who don’t follow it.

        • TheKingOfRhye

          “If you don’t subscribe to God’s word, that’s your choice–but don’t pretend it is truly a marriage then by His definition”

          I’m an atheist and unmarried, but if I did get married, do you think I would give any thought to whether it fit “God’s definition”? Think of it this way…you’re a Christian, I’m assuming. Would you give a damn if, for whatever reason, your marriage (if you have one, that is) wouldn’t be considered valid by Judaism, or Islam, or some other religion?

          This is a country that endorses no religion. Therefore, we can’t have one religion define marriage for others, or even those of no religion.

    • gizmo23

      At one time it was only white marriages were God’s plan, then it was only 2 people of the same color was God’s plan. God changes his mind a lot

      • Hatch Jerod

        No, just your god.

      • Mark

        Don’t take man’s sordid history of blaming God out of context to “God’s way” or His Word. Men were merely doing as liberals do today–whatever they wanted and using God (falsely) to justify it.

        • gizmo23

          Using God to commit evil acts has been going on since the dawn of man. It knows no political stripe

  • Found One

    Whatever 2 people in love do, is sanctified by the god or gods, or lack of gods of the couple. In the case of no god, the marriage is sanctified by the couple. The state is a record keeper.

  • Found One

    The state was never in the position of accepting, blessing or approving of the marriage. That concept is just the swelled head of officious people.

    • TallZeke

      They are not in love, gays only have sex. They are not capable of emotional attachment or commitment. The CDC has proof of that.

      • TheBottomline4This

        Oohh, do share details…

      • Found One

        Why do some christians hate so strongly as you? You seem somehow inhuman, though I know of no other living thing capable of such anger.

        • Amy

          Aww. you poor baby, anyone who doesn’t think just like you is a “hater.” Too bad you can’t force the government to stifle free speech so you little delicate things don’t get your poor widdle feelings hurt.

          • Jalapeno

            You seem a bit ..naive about how people who disagree with you actually feel.

            Very few people get their feelings hurt by ignorant idiots, but it’s still a sad thing to have to see.

        • Hatch Jerod

          That’s not hate, it’s just an opinion based on what this person thinks is evidence. Where is the hateful speech?

      • Jolanda Tiellemans

        Roflmao!!! Seriously? You have talked to gay couples and know how they feel about each other? How many times do they have sex in a day? Cause I’m interested, my gay friends never tell me anything spicy about their sex life. So please do tell, cause it seems you know a lot about it.

      • Hatch Jerod

        Problem I have with that is that God said in the end he would send a strong delusion, so that those who *would not believe his truth *should not believe it, 2 Thessalonians 4, Romans 1

        If being deluded means gays have affections for one another that closely resemble or even match the feeling that hetero sexually couples have, then that’s what will happen. Satan is a matter counterfeiter

  • Guest

    Great solution I hope other states follow. This puts them like the europeans that separate the legal civil union from the religious rite after the 100 years war and realized mixing religion with government is just asking for trouble.

    This puts the onus of making sure the couple qualifies to enter the civil contract on the couple themselves and there will probably be no more errors that way than they were with the state doing the checking.

  • Hatch Jerod

    Its not a solution, it’s washing their hands of the argument. It opens up as many pitfalls as it tries to cover, like divorce cases, spousal abuse, child custody, etc, if everything is now contractual. The state does offer protections and rights to the weaker party in a marriage, which is partially why the practice of licensing came into being, I believe

  • Emmanuel

    This will not pass, taxes/fees for that license will be the reason. Not for who will get married, it’s about the money they will lose.

    • Hatch Jerod

      Just pay for the contract. Someone has to be the arbiter.

  • Bertha Warren

    Taking the coward way out, so the Church can take all the flax. State do not want to be sued for their part on illegal marriages. ( Saint by Jesus). Just do away with Laws and become the wild, Wild West. If law maker do not want get involved in their laws created by them and some ordained by God. We are in trouble and do not want own up to it. Bible speak about leader in Bible, they will be give accuntability, before him.

    • http://www.LibertyConservatives.com/ Jebby Sanderson

      The state should have no role in marriage. Marriage is between bride, groom, Church and God. We don’t ask the government for permission to baptize, we shouldn’t ask the state permission to marry.

      • Bertha Warren

        You are so, correct.

      • Bezukhov

        I should have read further down this comment thread. The same point I made.

      • Cady555

        There are an awful lot of married people on this planet who are not members of your religion.

        Marriage is a civil contract that bestows certain benefits and creates a legal relationship. Two people and civil recognition are involved.

        Your religion may have different rules about who is considered married from the standpoint of your religion. Catholics don’t recognize remarriage after divorce. Some Jewish sects refuse to recognize divorce until certain conditions are met.

        But a Baptist doesn’t have to abide by catholic or jewish rules to be married, right? A Jewish or Catholic city clerk can’t refuse to process a Baptists paperwork for not following their religious rules.

        The state sets rules, like licenses, for civil recognition of marriage. Nothing prevents you from having different rules for yourself. You just don’t get to impose your extra conditions on others.Hugs. I hope you can find respite care so that you and your family spouse can get some time off.

        Don’t look for compassion from Christians.

        • Cady555

          Apologies. Those last two sentences beginning with Hugs do not belong in this post, and relate to a much different topic. The comment about Christian compassion related to one specific situation and does not apply here.

  • http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/fisherhl Mr. Avatar

    A marriage license under the state is a contract – every state – but there are differences. One significant difference is that Arizona is one of eight western states that are Community Property states. The other states are Common Law states, including Utah, with the exception of Louisiana which is a Napoleonic Code state. The marriage license is a Secular Contract between the parties and the State. As a contract it is like a business, a three-way contract between the State, as Principal, and the husband and wife as the other two legs of the Contract.

  • http://www.dontneednostinkinwebsite.com/ Midlandr

    Pastor Gary Hardin, it is a simple thing to require a formal ceremony in a church service before any congregant would be considered married. The church could issue a certificate much like a baptismal certificate.

  • Dio Jones

    Well to be honest marriage licenses are a construct of man, and they came out solely so that the government could make money. Biblical marriages is not tied to anything but a man and woman dedicating themselves to each other and God. Even Jesus himself said to give a writ of DIVORCE, not marriage…

    Always be a light that is .shininginthedark.

    • Guest

      Civil marriage contracts are like adoption contracts – they create a legally recognized familial status of between two previously unrelated individuals so they can be identified and treated differently by government than two unrelated individuals.

      Holding the contractees to be the ones that must insure the criteria required are met rather than the state changes nothing really – the contract is still void no matter when it is descovered the criteria weren’t met at signing.

      • Dio Jones

        Nope, marriage licenses were created for money reasons in America… I go by the Bible and not man… Go do some research and get back to me…

        • Guest

          then why comment on a tread about secular marriage contracts at all?

  • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

    “Put another way, under a licensing scheme, marriage is not a right, nor a religious institution, but a privilege granted by the state and limited by its requirements,” it says.

    Not true — the supreme court has ruled many times that marriage is a right under US law, and a state cannot change that.

    • Hatch Jerod

      The problem is, it was contested and approved by a higher power, sealing something as lawful the public could not seal for itself. Thus it is a priviledge. If the state truly saw it as a right, like the right not to be murdered, there would be no contesting it.

      • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

        No, the supreme court has stated many times that marriage is a right under US law. A state can’t change that, and religious views of marriage aren’t relevant.

        • Hatch Jerod

          Ah, your missing my point. I guess I didn’t say it well. At some level, your fundamental “rights” to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness are “afforded” you by the benevolence of the US gov. This means they can be taken away as well, which is the biggest problem now facing marriage as an institution. The decision to give states rights to license marriage has led to the federal government assuming that it should legislate the definition of marriage. The Obergefell decision has made this clear. However there is no fixing this conundrum, like federal income tax. The powers that be cannot just give it back to the people to decide for themselves once that occurred. The public does not define its rights or the rights of the government, the government defines the rights of the public. This is not so with basic rights outlined in the ten commandments, such as the right not to be murdered, to own property without fear of thievery, etc. There are no Supreme Court decisions on the issue of whether one human to murder another (post partum, that is). The definition of murder and theft is pretty straightforward across the board. Thus, marriage is a priviledge in comparison to other fundamental rights

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            The decision to give states rights to license marriage

            States don’t have rights — they have powers, not rights.

            has led to the federal government assuming that it should legislate the definition of marriage.

            Only insofar as marriage being a right and equal protection of the 14th amendment.

            The powers that be cannot just give it back to the people to decide for themselves once that occurred.

            You’re a bit late — Loving v. Virginia did that over 50 years ago.

            This is not so with basic rights outlined in the ten commandments

            The 10 commandments aren’t part of US law, they are irrelevant.

            Thus, marriage is a priviledge in comparison to other fundamental rights

            No, it isn’t. Marriage is a right under US law. States can’t change that, period.

          • Hatch Jerod

            Most of your argument is pilpul.

            So Loving Vs. Virginia repeals federal income tax?

            The definition of marriage is altered, changed, even “insofar as” because it was once man and woman, now it is more inclusive, thus changed.

            Rights granted by an authority are not rights at all. They are priviledges.

            The ten commandments are indeed in the US Constitution. Tell me where they are not.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            So Loving Vs. Virginia repeals federal income tax?

            No. Google not working for you?

            The definition of marriage is altered, changed, even “insofar as” because it was once man and woman, now it is more inclusive, thus changed.

            Before Loving, states could also restrict marriages by race; they couldn’t afterwards. The definition of marriage changed back then, too.

            The ten commandments are indeed in the US Constitution. Tell me where they are not.

            The first amendment directly contradicts the first commandment, for a start.

          • Hatch Jerod

            I was wondering what that case was called, thanks!

            2nd point, good, but like before, SCOTUS obviated a truth of the new testament written long before. Based upon Christ’s fulfillment in his life on earth of the old testament law – that is, there is no longer any Jew nor Greek, slave nor free in fellowship with Jesus – Jews who believed in Jesus were no longer bound to marry Jews only, thus it follows that any other race marrying one another in the fellowship of Christ Jesus is kosher, even before Loving v. Virginia. What was not allowed and not “contracted”, so to speak, by the first church was interfaith marriage.

            3rd point – How?!!

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            2nd point, good, but like before, SCOTUS obviated a truth of the new testament written long before.

            We use US law in the US, not religious law.

            What was not allowed and not “contracted”, so to speak, by the first church was interfaith marriage.

            That’s legal in the US.

            3rd point – How?!!

            Meaning how does the 1st amendment contradict the 1st commandment?
            The first commandment (depending on which numbering you use, it might be #2) orders you to worship a particular god. The first amendment guarantees (among other things) freedom of religion — you can practice different religions and worship different gods, or none at all.

          • Hatch Jerod

            There’s no contradiction at all. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            Of course there’s a contradiction — the ten commandments tells you what god to worship, while the constitution says you have religious freedom.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            “The ten commandments are indeed in the US Constitution. Tell me where they are not.”

            How about anywhere in it? That’s where they’re not. Most of them, if they were laws, would be unconstitutional and/or unenforceable.

          • This style ten and six

            As it is not in the 10C I guess there is no right to not be raped!

          • Hatch Jerod

            That would fall under property and is specifically explained in leviticus, I believe.

          • This style ten and six

            So when the 10C replace the constitution women will become property. Again.

  • LuigiBall

    Yes finally! Bring back the spirituality in marriage & take the government out of it in Jesus name!

  • http://verbus.dreamhosters.com OneBreadOneBody

    It’s about time. I’ve been advocating this for years. When the Church gets out of the business of solemnizing marriage licenses (even if that means doing away with the whole concept) then the State has no business meddling in the affairs of the Church. Civil marriage is what the people define it to be. Christian marriage is what God defines it to be. One word for two very different things.

    • Nidalap

      That might very well work in a world free from spiritual influences and with non-corrupt men in positions of power. In THIS world, however, there is NO way the State stops meddling in Church affairs…

      • http://verbus.dreamhosters.com OneBreadOneBody

        I agree that in this world there will be no way to stop the state from meddling in the affairs of the Church. We’re already seeing pastors being monitored for “hate” speech in Canada, and we’re not immune from that kind of attack. However, I still think we ought to be as uncooperative as possible when the state expects us to roll over.

        • Nidalap

          I heard that! We only need look back to 1930’s Germany to see where THIS is heading…

  • upload

    Hardin’s position, I think, places government’s part in a marriage on equal footing with the church’s. In fact, marriage is only recognized by God. There is no need to go through the state, as marriage is, was, and always will be solely the purview of God.

    • Jalapeno

      Sure, you’re free to get married without the benefits. Sometimes there are restrictions in place on the actual marriage ceremony, but as far as I can tell that’s intended to prevent people from thinking they’re married when it isn’t actually legally sanctioned.

      There are plenty of people, though, that are married without any religious backing. Those are equal to yours.

  • http://www.LibertyConservatives.com/ Jebby Sanderson

    Requiring the state’s permission to marry is completely unbiblical. Keep the state out of the sacraments!

    • Bezukhov

      Baptism is a sacrament, right? Would anyone wish the government to make it mandatory that a license be required for a baptism?

      • Hatch Jerod

        Define sacrament

    • Guest

      which punctuates why it should – for the majority of US Christians marriage isn’t a sacrament at all.

      The registered civil contract is just so the government can know who is married and differentiate them from those that aren’t.

      if someone doesn’t want the government to treat them differently because they have a spouse there’s no need to register at all.

      • http://www.LibertyConservatives.com/ Jebby Sanderson

        The bigger problem is that the majority of US Christians are not in full communion with the Church, but rather congregate in fundamentally flawed ecclessial communities without access to the Sacraments.

        • ʇsǝnƃ

          Shoot even the Roman Catholics only suddenly discover marriage as a sacrament over a thousand years after the birth of Christianity. I think the other communities have it right – marriage is an ‘of this world only’ thing and no more a sacrament than what meats we eat or clothes we wear.

          but again, that’s why the separation between someone’s personal religious rites and the civil contract cannot be too wide.

        • LukesNaNa

          Translate that as any Christian church that is not Roman Catholic is spiritually illegitimate, therefore any baptism, marriage, or celebration of communion is delusional. The “Church” is only Roman Catholic, not the Body and Bride of Christ, right?
          Not gonna argue with you, Bubba, but as a former Catholic I know whereof I speak.

          • http://www.LibertyConservatives.com/ Jebby Sanderson

            No, the Roman Catholic Church isn’t the only one with valid sacraments. There’s the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, Assyrian Church of the East, and some Old Catholic Churches as well.

            The Baptism of most Christian denominations is also valid. Same with marriage.

  • http://www.bing.com/ Martin Smit

    Amazingly Alabama seems to have found a point of agreement between Christians advocating natural marriage and activists advocating marriage as an arbitrary contract of convenience between random persons. If this discussion is anything to go by, many agree that demoting the state to record keeper is a useful change. The names that frequently spew vitriolic comments in favor of any godless plan are agreeing with the names that loudly speak up for righteousness.

    It is quite a spectacle!

    • Hatch Jerod

      Kinda reminds me of lukewarm water.once you mix the hit and cold you can’t separate them.

    • TheKingOfRhye

      “Christians advocating natural marriage and

      activists advocating marriage as an arbitrary contract of convenience between random persons”

      Wow, guess we know where you stand on the issue just by that sentence. Nice job of completely misrepresenting LGBT people…..

      And maybe it’s just a conservative thing, I don’t know…..but I never thought of “activist” as necessarily a dirty word. You guys always throw that word around like it’s a big insult. What’s wrong with being an ‘activist’ for a cause one deeply believes in?

      • ʇsǝnƃ

        Yeah it just seemed trollish click bait to me. “arbitrary”, “random persons”. Does always make me wonder how a such deceptive language fits into someone’s belief landscape.

      • http://www.bing.com/ Martin Smit

        If you have something to say, you should really just go ahead and say it. If your cause is misrepresented it is surely easy for you to set the record straight. (Fun counterpoint: can an LGBT activist set the record straight?) A deeply and sincerely held belief cannot whitewash a vile and dishonorable cause.

        • TheKingOfRhye

          “If you have something to say, you should really just go ahead and say it.”

          Huh? I thought I just did that. I’ve known same-sex couples. They were more than just “random persons” to each other.

  • robertzaccour

    Government should have stayed out of marriage from the start.

  • Tangent002

    Sounds a lot like a petulant kid taking his ball and going home because everyone else won’t play by his rules. But, since it has no impact on the legality of same-sex marriage, I say go for it.

    • upload

      With the shrillness of the opposition to protection laws for ministers and churches, this may be the only way for states to ensure the legal protection from suits brought against them on trumped-up accusations of discrimination. And in most states, same-sex marriage is still illegal. The Supreme Court only issued an opinion that all states should recognize same-sex marriage since a handful do. No law has changed. Some states’ supreme courts have reiterated their individual state’s legal standing on the matter.

      • Tangent002

        Are you aware of any state that has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (besides the Kim Davis thing)?

  • David Swanson

    I have often wondered why I need governments permission to be married which is the purpose of a license, permission and regulation. What business is governments on what covenants and contracts I have with others and my deity? Take another step back and consider why you need a license for already established rights. The interference and manipulation in personal lives has to stop.

    • Tangent002

      As I understand it, the original purpose of a marriage license was to combat inbreeding between close blood relatives and also to (somewhat) insure against polygamy. I would say it is largely archaic nowadays.

      • David Swanson

        I believe there are some cultures that sill practice marriage of cousins and if they intended marriage, a license is not going to stop them or even prevent polygamy.

    • TheKingOfRhye

      The thing is, it’s because the government gives all sorts of benefits to married couples. If they didn’t do any of that, I’d suspect they wouldn’t consider it their business, or at least they shouldn’t in that case. You want the government to stay out of marriage, kiss all those tax breaks and such goodbye.

  • Mark

    To “Baptist preacher Gary Hardin”. As a fellow ordained minister, I kindly challenge your statement of such an action cheapening marriage. Marriage is a covenant between a couple and God, (Not a contract ultimately). It was a covenant long before the “state” took over in the 1930’s to create a marriage license–which effectively cheapens marriage by making it a contract with the state instead of a covenant with God. Not one of the bible marriages listed were contracts with the US government, nor should the government be a party on the “contract”. ALL believers should be boycotting “marriage licenses” to begin with in favor of a covenant before God, and perhaps be taught to sign a Ketubah as that was the biblical historical precedent. Shalom

  • Gena B

    When you get a blood test and fill out a form, it’s for the states records and that’s it, the marriage actually takes place in church under God.

  • Jess Mee

    The 2016 session of the Alabama Legislature closed without the bill receiving a vote. It’s dead.