Alabama Senate Wants to Do Away With Marriage Licenses
State senators in Alabama have passed a bill that would do away with state marriage licenses to dodge same-sex weddings.
Alabama could exit the marriage businesses if a bill to eliminate marriage licenses passes the House.
Sen. Greg Albritton said his bill “truly separates the church and the state” by eliminating licenses in favor of couples simply signing an affidavit. No wedding ceremony would be required for a couple to become married. Of course, the couple could still choose to hold a formal wedding ceremony; but the couple wouldn’t be obligated to hold such an event for them to be considered legally married if the bill becomes law.
The bill comes, Alabama Public Radio reports, as a few probate judges in Alabama still refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone so that they don’t have to issue them to same-sex couples. Their refusal to do so, they believe, is justified by their own personal religious convictions that state marriage should be between one man and one woman not two men or two women.
So they’re willing to penalize opposite-sex couples just to spite same-sex couples. Is that what Jesus would do?
“The state has an obligation to deal with marriage when it deals with the matter of contract law. The church and individuals have the obligation of marriage when it comes to the sanctity and the solemnity and the permanence of marriage,” Albritton said on the Senate floor. “Those things are separate here.”
The senator has proposed this same bill four years in a row, but it has not ever made it to serious consideration. I suppose he should at least get an A for effort.
But if something is legal, even if the state and church disagree, the state has an obligation to uphold the law, not rewrite it just to satisfy religious principles, since not every voter in Alabama would have the same religious views; obviously, not everyone in Alabama is heterosexual, either, or this wouldn’t even be an issue.
In claiming a “separation” of church and state, it sounds more like church is attempting to run state here.
And if the state is still requiring a legal document to make the marriage legal, what are they really accomplishing here? Doesn’t someone in the state have to process those documents? What if it’s against their religious convictions?
When you work for the government (and, therefore, are supposed to represent all citizens), where do your rights end and the rights of those you represent begin?
Issuing a marriage license is no more a religious “endorsement” of the holiness of a marriage than issuing a driver’s license is a guarantee that the driver will always follow traffic laws.
It just doesn’t work that way.
According to 2015 stats, Alabama has the 9th-highest divorce rate. Perhaps the state could stop trying to find ways to target loving people who want to be married just because it doesn’t meet individual religious qualifications of a handful of judges.