Alabama Gets Out of the Marriage Biz?

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Alabama Gets Out of the Marriage Biz?

Post by editor »

An interesting development-- I don't yet know quite what to think of it. Alabama seems to be throwing its hands up in surrender over being a "gatekeeper" for marriage. Or are they?

Sen. Greg Albritton is quoted as saying what we've known all along-- it's the recording of the marriage that's important. Not the ceremony. But is this all that's important? I wonder if Albritton really sees the whole picture?

The application for marriage license is or can be construed as a contract. Any time someone signs a document they are potentially surrendering rights. This change in Alabama would do away with the license, but still require the filing of an affidavit. We know that recording documents with the State grants jurisdiction. The question is, does the mere filing of an affidavit convey the same surrender of rights formerly granted by the application for license?
The state of Alabama could eliminate marriage licenses completely

by Sara Gonzales

Original source: ... ompletely/

The Alabama Senate passed a bill last week that would completely eliminate marriage licenses in the state. People would instead go to a probate judge to simply get their marriages recorded by a state official.

Republican state Sen. Greg Albritton, the author of the bill, told WBRC-TV that the state needed to get used to the fact that gay marriage is now legal and adjust accordingly. “The recording is what establishes the marriage. OK? Not the ceremony. Not the form of the license,” he said.

Albritton also said it would ease the burden on probate judges who may feel conflicted having to sign a same-sex marriage license, which would keep the state out of any cumbersome legal battles.

“It keeps the state from making the decision of who can and cannot get married,” he said. “It prevents the state from that gate-keeper position.”

State Sen. Gerald Allen (R) agreed with the notion that it would make it easier for probate judges who feel morally conflicted.

“Just like probate judges and others that got some personal opinions about things. It takes them out of the loop so to speak,” Allen said.

Several counties in Alabama have already stopped issuing marriage licenses. According to, as of last October, eight counties in the state have refused to issue any marriage licenses since the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

Instead of obtaining a marriage license, the bill would require a couple to submit notarized affidavits certifying that they are of legal age, not already married and not related by blood or adoption. The document would be signed by both parties, and the probate court would simply record the marriage instead of signing off on the official document.

Albritton’s bill has passed through the Senate three times before, but all three times it has failed to clear the state House. The bill has been read by the House of Representatives and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
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Re: Alabama Gets Out of the Marriage Biz?

Post by notmartha »

You can download the actual bill here: ... rossed.pdf

I will highlight some of the interesting parts.

To amend Sections 12-19-90, 22-9A-17, 30-1-5, 30-1-12, 30-1-13, 30-1-14, 30-1-16, and 30-6-11 of the Code of Alabama 1975, to abolish the requirement that a marriage license be issued by the judge of probate; to provide that a marriage would be entered into by contract; to provide that the judge of probate would record each contract of marriage presented to the probate office for recording and would forward the contract to the Office of Vital Statistics; to provide for the content of a properly executed contract of marriage; to provide fees for recording; and to repeal Sections 30-1-9, 30-1-10, and 30-1-11 of the Code of Alabama 1975.
A probate judge? Why would living people need and/or want to record a contract with someone dealing with dead persons' affairs?
(b) A contract to be married shall contain the following minimum information:
(1) The names of the parties.
(2) A statement that the parties are legally authorized to be married.
(3) A statement that the parties voluntarily and based on each parties' own freewill enter into a marriage.
(4) The signatures of the parties.
This contract is strictly secular in nature, evidenced by the "legally authorized" requirement, as opposed to lawful. The only reason to have a secular contract is to gain secular benefits, which come with secular duties.
(c) A marriage contract meeting the requirements of this section shall be valid upon recording.
(d) A civil or religious ceremony may be required to be married.
(e) The contract shall be filed in the office of the judge of probate in each county and shall constitute a legal record of the marriage. A copy of the contract shall be transmitted to the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Public Health and made a part of its record.
So the (secular) marriage contract is not valid until recorded with keeper of dead persons' affairs, as opposed to a marriage covenant between husband, wife and God.

"...may be required..." So the contract may or may not be enough, arbitrarily decided by whom?
(b) Each person who performs a marriage shall certify the fact of marriage and return the record by signing the contract of marriage. The contract of marriage shall be submitted to the judge of probate who issued the license within 30 days after the ceremony for recording.
Their "persons" i.e. agents of STATE are compelled to perform.
Any judge, minister of the gospel, or other person uniting persons in matrimony or any clerk or keeper of the minutes of a religious society celebrating marriage by the consent of the parties before the congregation, who fails to return a certificate thereof to file the contract of marriage with the judge of probate, as required by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
There is that pesky word "person" again.
I find the "minister of the gospel" inclusion odd.

The fee schedule in the bill is also interesting. Payment is made to the probate judge, the DA, and the General Fund of the State Treasury. Just a pinch here and a pinch there.
editor wrote: The question is, does the mere filing of an affidavit convey the same surrender of rights formerly granted by the application for license?
Unless there is a newer bill floating around, The Blaze was incorrect. The bill is calling the document to be recorded a contract, not an affidavit. The only affidavit the bill discusses is that of parents consenting to marriage of minor children. No mention in bill of anything needing to be notarized either.

So, to answer your question in regards to the contract, yes and no. :D The contract is controlled by its elements, which should be kept on the lawful plane. Recording a secular contract with a secular entity will give you the appearance of converting rights to privileges. But.... such contracts are voidable for non-disclosure.

Alabama is still in marriage biz, just gaining jurisdiction and making money in a different way.
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