Lawmakers in Alabama have unanimously voted to stop issuing marriage licenses. This is because some of the state’s judges don’t want to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Alabama Senate approved this bill on Thursday, 21 March. Sponsored by Republican Sen. Greg Albritton, the bill passed 26-0. It will now move to the state’s House. If passed, Alabama will become the only state where marriage licenses would not generally be required to get married. Instead, couples would have to fill out a form from the state and then present that form or affidavit to a probate judge, who would then record the marriage.
According to Albritton, who first filed this bill in 2015 after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal nationwide, at least seven but as many as ten of the state’s 68 probate judges stopped issuing marriage licenses after the 2015 Supreme Court decision. About one-third of counties in Alabama had cracked down on issuing marriage licenses since 2015.
‘A license is a granting of permission or authority for people to take actions,’ Albritton said. ‘That’s the same thing with marriage licenses.’
Watch a video of Sen. Greg Albritton discussing the bill back in January below:
The bill, Albritton argues, eliminates the need for a wedding ceremony, leaving the state to only deal with the civil aspect of a marriage, not the religious one.
Albritton is attempting to compromise so that marriage licenses would be issued in all Alabama counties again.
‘This bill separates that out and allows the two separate things to be handled but it provides and protects everyone so that they can get married when and where they choose,’ he said.
Albritton is optimistic that the bill will be passed this year.