The idea of getting the government out of the marriage business has been bandied about for years.
One benefit, as WORLD notes, is state officials who are Christians won’t face government fines, or jail — as was the case with Kim Davis — for refusing to profane marriage.
As a county clerk in Kentucky, Davis didn’t want to issue “marriage” licenses to homosexuals with her name on the documents, something she considered to conflict with her faith. Gov. Matt Bevin and the legislature protected clerks like Davis by removing clerks’ names from marriage licenses.
Here’s what Alabama wants to do:
Alabama is trying to lead the way toward getting government out of marriage.
Alabama is considering a law that would abolish marriage licenses in the state.
[state Senator Greg ]Albritton said the law would protect the religious liberty of probate judges and clergy who have moral objections to signing same-sex marriage licenses while also avoiding likely litigation.
“It keeps the state from making the decision of who can and cannot get married,” Albritton said. “It prevents the state from that gatekeeper position.”
Instead, under the proposed bill, couples would file signed affidavits with a probate judge, who would be required to record, but not authorize or condone, marriages. The notarized affidavit would ask each party to declare they were old enough to marry, not currently married, not related, and voluntarily desired to marry. The bill also would remove any requirement that a ceremony take place.
Sen. Albritton said the change would be procedural, not definitional. Advocates envision making marriage a civil matter, a contract between individuals. But opponents cite this as a reason to oppose the bill.
“To take it and reduce it to a contractual arrangement like a mortgage or a deed feels a little concerning,” Republican Sen. Phil Williams said during debate.
But Albritton maintained the “state does not make things sacred.”
He said his goal with the bill was simply to resolve a judicial controversy. Eight Alabama counties still refuse to issue marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.
Do you think states should abolish marriage licenses?
Do think abolishing marriage licenses would protect Christians?