The state of Alabama has taken steps to pull the government out of the marriage business.
Legislators approved a bill that would make marriage licenses in Alabama a thing of the past. The new legislation would effectively put the marriage contract squarely in the hands of the individuals getting married and, perhaps, the religious intuition of their choosing.
Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, who sponsored the bill, believes it to be a victory for the separation of church and state.
This new move will apply to all marriages, gay or straight. Marriage licenses would no longer have the need to be issued by a judge, but rather the couple would sign and submit a form. No wedding ceremony would be necessary nor would government approval, according to AL.com
The senate passed it this Tuesday in Montgomery in a 19-1 vote. Sen. Albritton commented from the senate floor this move “truly separates the church and the state.”
This bill was first introduced by Sen. Albritton in 2015, at the peak of the gay marriage debate, where it was first shot down. The senator’s proposal was a small government solution to some judges refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
“The sanctity of marriage cannot be sanctified by government of men,” Albritton commented in 2015. “That is where we have gotten ourselves in trouble.” This solution will now take a probate judge’s digression out of the equation to make a marriage legally binding, leaving one less hurtle for same sex couple in the state of Alabama.
But many LBGT activists are distrustful of the compromise, worried that the lack of bureaucracy will blow back on them if they would need to prove the validity of a same sex marriage that no governing body issued a license for.
Gay media outlets have called the bill “beguiling.”
Other leftwing activists seemed to thing the law would negatively affect women by giving an advantage to “white men.”
Under the new terms the parties who seek to be recognized as married have a minimum age requirement, must not be closely related by blood, or already married. Marriage will be treated in Alabama as a contract issue, rather than a political statement endorsed by governing bodies.
However small the change, small government and pro-religious freedom advocates see it is one small victory in eliminating government intervention in the personal choices of citizens, and puts the choice squarely in the hands of individuals.
This bill is still pending approval in the state house before it goes into effect.