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Alabama marriage license elimination bill one step closer to law

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama State Senate passed a bill that would eliminate the use of marriage licenses and would instead require that marriages be recorded by probate judges. Sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range), it was approved by a 22-6 margin on Tuesday evening.

After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sax marriage nationwide in Obergefell v. Hodges, similar bills have been continually introduced in the state legislature. Many Alabama probate judges stopped issuing licenses after the court’s decision, and eight jurisdictions are continuing that practice as of last October.

Small government conservatives and libertarians argue that the state’s role in marriage should be limited to the enforcement on contract. “Licenses are used as a way to stop people from doing things,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “My personal relationship should not be subject to government permission.”

When he introduced a similar bill last year, Sen. Albritton told the Associated Press his intent was to remove the state from an issue it should have never involved itself with in the first place.

“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” he said. “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.”