Bill plans to take Alabama out of marriage license business – Lawyer Herald

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    Interesting. I remember hearing about how this was absolutely not what same-sex couples wanted, because this-or-that entity was still free to refuse to accept the validity of the contract.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    The massive resistance phase as begun. The Civil Rights equivalent was when counties tried to close down their public school systems to avoid integration.Report

  3. veronica d says:

    This is all so unnecessary, but hate settles in the bones. Blah. Whatever.

    In the end, if straight people and LGBT people are treated the same, and if there are no weird hurdles for people to get married — like just filing a form seems fine. Whatever. What’s the harm?

    But still, what fucking immature brats these people are.Report

  4. Kim says:

    SOO tempted to make an Alabama incest joke here.
    I will be a saint and forego it.

    Seriously, the Legislature seems like it’s doing it’s damnedest to do the right thing. If More than 10% of your judges aren’t issuing any licenses, let’s just find a way to make it Not Their Problem.

    The judges, by this law, are completely not allowed to whinge about homosexuals. Just check age and move on.

    Moral Decision: now at state level, rather than in the hands of stupid reactionary judges.Report

  5. Will Truman says:

    When this was brought up last year, I was pretty supportive of it. Mostly because I wanted to avoid the forseeable chaos that ensued. Now that the chaos has happened, though, I’m a little more indifferent. I’m not especially interested in clearing the path to let county clerks avoid doing their job. I am interested in smoothing the process out as much as possible for gay couples while the courts sort this out.

    So my question is how close the courts are to doing so. My impression is that it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. In which case, screw’em. If the new plan genuinely is better, take it up next year. I think it could be better, but the bad optics outweigh the benefit I perceive.Report

  6. Alan Scott says:

    I recall discussing this last year as well. IIRC, the version at the time required the marriage to be solemnized by a member of the clergy, which I objected to pretty strenuously on church/state separation grounds.

    I’d love to take a look at this version, but heaven forbid the journalists actually include any identifying information for the bill in their articles. I’ll get back to you after I get done with a lot more Googling that I’d planned to do today.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott says:

      You’re thinking of Oklahoma.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Alan Scott says:

      Found it. It’s Alabama SB143. And this version appears to have fixed the problems I originally had with it last year. The new bill includes the following text :

      (d) A civil and independent or religious ceremony of marriage, celebration of marriage, solemnization of marriage, or any other officiation, or administration of the vows of marriage may be conducted or engaged in by the parties by an officiant or other presiding person to be selected by the persons entering into the marriage. The state shall have no requirement for any such ceremony or proceeding which, if performed or not performed, will have no legal effect upon the validity of the marriage.

      So yeah, I view this as an acceptable accommodation that doesn’t negatively impact the rights of same-sex couples. (That said, I think it could use a few extra sentences strengthening the validity of these non-license marriages after they cross state lines.)Report

      • Francis in reply to Alan Scott says:

        You realize that this language says absolutely nothing.

        Sentence 1: 2 people are allowed to have a 3rd party to say “You’re married”.

        Sentence 2: Any person can say whatever magic words he wants and the ceremony has no legal effect anyway.

        Just delete the whole section. How has the law changed regarding the formation of marriage? Not at all.

        If states start writing legislation about all the things we do which have no legal effect, statutes are going to get really long. We could have whole codes on non-performative statements, or the lack of legal effect of blogging, drunk or not, or the legal uselessness of movie reviews.Report

        • Alan Scott in reply to Francis says:

          By saying absolutely nothing, it says that it doesn’t say the something that I most prefer it not say.

          That is, I don’t want a rule that in any way implies that the authority of civil marriage that these sorts of compromise measures removes from state officials is transferred to the church.

          Under most state laws, a marriage license is only valid after a ceremony conducted by a religious official or a designated civil official. The bill I was thinking of (which, Will correctly notes, was from Oklahoma, not Alabama) forbid the participation by civil officials while maintaining the requirement of a ceremony–thus, it said you could only be married if a church approved of your wedding.

          Given the fact that church disapproval is the vector for much of the homophobia in the US, you can imagine I’m not thrilled by such an arrangement. So the quoted passage in the Alabama law rejects that setup–which is why I’m happy about it.Report

  7. Being Alabama, they can cover 90% of cases by replacing marriage with legal protections for first cousins.Report