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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 7, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 31
Don't give marriage licenses to anyone, Alabama bill says
Section One
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Don't give marriage licenses to anyone, Alabama bill says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

How do you get out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges?

Simple, an Alabama lawmaker says. Don't issue licenses to anyone.

Alabama State Senator Greg Albritton has introduced a bill to do away with state-issued marriage licenses altogether. Instead of the licenses, couples who have been married by someone authorized to do so would simply file a private marriage contract at state probate offices.

That way, Albritton says, the state isn't put in the position of approving same-sex marriages by issuing licenses for them, but also isn't discriminating against Gay and Lesbian couples because no one would get a license.

The bill advanced August 3 when a Senate Committee passed it. The measure may now go to the floor of the Senate for debate and a vote, but it may face obstacles. The Alabama legislature is in special session because it failed to pass a state budget during its regular meetings. That means that budget bills get priority, and Albritton's bill might not come to the floor.

In any case, the idea is not original. Thirteen Alabama counties have shut their clerks' offices rather than issue licenses to Gay and Lesbian couples.

Alabama's Chief Judge Roy Moore has advised the state's county clerks that the U.S. high court does not have jurisdiction over marriage laws, and that they can safely refuse to give licenses to same-sex couples.

On the other hand, U.S. District Judge Callie Grenade, who issued the original ruling striking down Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage on January, insisted that federal court rulings supersede state laws.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed multiple charges of unethical conduct against Moore, stemming from his statements on the high court's marriage decision.

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