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Alabama Senate Overwhelmingly Votes to Do Away With Marriage Licenses

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 18, 2006
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    The Alabama Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that would fundamentally alter the state’s approach to the institution of marriage. The bill—passed 22-3 by the senate and now heading for the house—would scrap marriage licenses and replace them with marriage contracts that do not require a marriage ceremony for validity. The move is being interpreted as an end-around to what many suspect will be a pro-gay marriage Supreme Court ruling.

    The bill, SB377, ends the issuance of marriage certificates, instead requiring a contract filed with a probate judge. “Effective July 1, 2015, the only requirement to be married in this state shall be for parties who are otherwise legally authorized to be married to enter into a contract of marriage as provided herein,” the bill states.

    WHNT19 News cites attorney Jake Watson, who said the bill would fundamentally change the way the state has handled marriage for over a century.

    “It really does away with the traditional sense of a marriage certificate and what we’ve been dealing with in Alabama as far as marriage certificates for more than a hundred years, I believe,” said Watson.

    The potential problem, he argued, is that the state would retain the right to define who is legally allowed to receive a contract.

  2. poncho

    poncho Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2004
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    Not until the 16th century did European states begin to require that marriages be performed under legal auspices. In part, this was an attempt to prevent unions between young adults whose parents opposed their match.

    The American colonies officially required marriages to be registered, but until the mid-19th century, state supreme courts routinely ruled that public cohabitation was sufficient evidence of a valid marriage. By the later part of that century, however, the United States began to nullify common-law marriages and exert more control over who was allowed to marry.

    By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, “Mongolians,” “Malays” or Filipinos. Twelve states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, an addict or a “mental defect.” Eighteen states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.

    In the mid-20th century, governments began to get out of the business of deciding which couples were “fit” to marry. Courts invalidated laws against interracial marriage, struck down other barriers and even extended marriage rights to prisoners. Taking Marriage Private (by Stephanie Coontz, professor of history at Evergreen State College and author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage.)