Alabama May Stop Issuing Marriage Licenses

Bill says no official ceremony would be required to formalize civil unions…

Alabama May Stop Issuing Marriage Licenses

Greg Albritton/IMAGE: YouTube

(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Alabama could become the first state in the union to eliminate its role in “granting” marriage licenses.

According to a bill that passed the state Senate 19-1 last week, and is due for a House committee hearing on Wednesday, Alabama probate judges would still record marriage declarations duly filed in their offices, but only as a recognition that an existing status is duly sworn – rather than in the role of a grantor of, or officiant for, the marriage.

If the bill passes, no official ceremony, religious or civil, would be required to formalize the union.

The new law would require “that the form that’s presented to be recorded must be accepted,” said Republican state senator Greg Albritton, the bill’s sponsor.

“It doesn’t change the fees,” he said. “It changes very little of the process. But it does allow and kind of takes a libertarian view of getting the state out of it as much as possible.”

Albritton has introduced versions of the bill for four years in a row, in response to the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision mandating the recognition of homosexual marriage nationwide.

“The move comes after years of back-and-forth among some probate judges who have refused to issue licenses at all following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling,” reported the web site Alabama Political Reporter. “The judges argued that they didn’t want to issue licenses to gay couples, so they just wouldn’t issue them at all.”

One such probate judge is Nick Williams of Washington County, who said the U.S. high court’s decision amounts to civil officials “redefin[ing]” marriage despite marriage being created not by man but by God.

Alabama’s then-Chief Justice, Roy Moore, was removed from office in 2017 for instructing probate judges to ignore the Obergefell decision, at least until the state Supreme Court had formalized it in the form of a judicial order.

“What this bill does is that it truly separates the church and the state,” Albritton explained in a Senate floor speech. “The state has an obligation to deal with marriage when it deals with the matter of contract law. The church and individuals have the obligation of marriage when it comes to the sanctity and the solemnity and the permanence of marriage. Those things are separate here.”


The Alabama Probate Judges Association has taken no official position on Albritton’s bill – but the 19-1 vote in the Senate seems to indicate that the bill is on a fast track to passage.

Social conservatives who don’t want the state to grant marriages to same-sex couples obviously support it – but so do liberals such as Democratic state Rep. Patricia Todd.

She said she isn’t happy that the catalyst for the bill seemed to be reaction to the Obergefell decision, but she also doesn’t see why the state should be in the marriage business anyway.

(Judge Moore opposes the bill, saying “we need to take a stand for holy matrimony.”)

Other states have considered similar legislation, but no such bills have passed both legislative chambers in any other state.

A key Mississippi legislator, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, said in 2015 that he would strongly consider the idea.

Last year, Mississippi passed a law providing that local court officials could decline, for personal religious convictions, to issue marriage licenses – but the state would then have to issue them instead.

Also in 2015 – the year Albritton first introduced his bill in Alabama – the Oklahoma House passed a bill extremely similar to Albritton’s, but it never became law.

All states still require some sort of official government act to grant a marriage license.

But if Albritton’s bill becomes law in Alabama, other states may follow suit.

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Copyright 2018 Liberty Headlines

  • omni

    the Church will be the grantor of marriage certificates, as it should be.

    • Kathryn Jordan


    • Mikial

      Which church? There are a lot of churches out there; Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist. Should the state have a role in recognizing which churches are legitimate and which are not.

      • omni

        Allof them , of course. As this is NOT a legal distinction,but a spiritual one, they all have the same “authority’-if you ask me.

    • Jackalyn Morrison

      AMEN and I love being an Alabamian

  • Harvey Mitterdorf

    Since marriage is an institution of the Church, the state should have never had anything to do with it.

    • Denise Mccoy

      Until one wants a divorce.

    • ipsd48

      …………….other than to record them for inheiritance purposes

    • Ezra

      Contracts are the purview of any civil society

  • Born Again Southern Pride

    Nice first step! Now eliminate the fees for the non-service.

  • Mountain_Dew_518

    Alabama recognizes common law marriage without fees, so if this passes there should be only $1.00 charge for the filing because they have done nothing. Seems like a Sodom & Gomorrah situation. For a true marriage they will have to go to another state that recognizes a true marriage between a man & woman. Alabama will be making a huge mistake. Let the citizens vote on that issue & not the politicians.

    • Born Again Southern Pride

      What do you consider as a “true marriage”?

      • Mountain_Dew_518

        A marriage between a man & woman vowing to each other to honor & cherish each other in sickness & in health until death do us part. Although there are some exceptions for instance, neither one should tolerate beatings, abuse, adultery. etc…I would consider those grounds for D-I-V-O-R-C-E. I typed that word intentionally because I figured it would be put on hold again.

        • Born Again Southern Pride

          Well, throughout time we have had governments change the meaning and status of marriage and I am sure those people that as you do… that the way they knew was the right way. My thought is that government, especially ours that is based on specific items it can do, has no right or responsibility to tell anyone what is or is not a marriage and then force people to pay a priviledge tax on it.

          • Mountain_Dew_518

            Agree. They also used to require a physical & blood test years ago for safety reasons, but I wonder if they even do that now.

          • Kathryn Jordan

            Good question. I wonder if the state still requires blood tests prior to marriage.

          • Mountain_Dew_518

            If not then there is no telling how many AIDS, syphilis, or other diseases are out there we don’t hear about or the spreading of it.

          • Kathryn Jordan

            ain’t that the truth. I hope the state still require blood tests prior to marriage.

          • chris VN

            In Vietnam they do a physc test as well, ( yet most of them still get married ).

          • Mikial


  • Ken

    Are you watching North Dakota?

  • Herb Branch

    Marriage, as a concept and an institution, was “instituted” by God — and long before God had instituted the concept of human governments, for the prime purpose of restraining human sinful actions and wicked behaviors: so that civility in behavior would allow for and promote self-restraint, communal cooperation, safety, prosperity and overall good manners.

    All persons need those things in order to feel safe in their own personhood and daily life. Otherwise, all life devolves into the struggle and daily terror of “the jungle” — NO ONE CAN HAVE CERTAINTY OF SURFIVAL FROM DAY-TO-DAY.

    Right now, having a daily certainty of life without constant threats to personal safety and survival IS NOT A GIVEN THAT CAN BE COUNTED UPON IN BALTIMORE OR CHICAGO..! Why? Because far too many youths and young men from those local African-American communities have grown up in a fatherless household, often governed by a weak female authority figure (which modern Black culture “pop culture” music and videos have taught their youth to be disrespectful towards the girls and women in their community — and which eventually transfers to opinions about females of all human racial and ethnic divisions).



  • Oh well now the State can back off stopping multiple spouses, marrying yo mama, sister, brother or dad . Then there are those who have romantic interest in their pets.

    • Mikial

      In other words, it’s the role of the state or a specific church to determine who can marry and who cannot. And who determines those standards. You? Politicians? The Pope? Since when did the government earn control over people’s personal lives?

      • Brent

        While I can certainly agree with the idea of your point, in the world we live today, you surely cannot ignore the potential for sheer lunacy that is bound to come from this situation. IE: It’s entirely possible that somebody having intercourse with a goat, will be allowed because he married the goat.

    • Denise Mccoy

      So right!

    • chief1937

      The slippery slope has begun no telling where it will end.

  • Kathryn Jordan

    This sure is an interesting article. I didn’t realize that Alabama still recognizes common law marriage. Will it be like a Sodom and Gomorrah situation? That is anyone’s guess. I think this is a case of wait and see what the Alabama state legislature says.

    • Mountain_Dew_518

      Common law marriage in Alabama is all you have to do is just change the last name themselves. When someone asks their name just sign anything instead of the female putting her real last name just sign your checks, letters, or if you apply for employment just use your partners last name. There really is no legal document only what name you use. They have the same rights as a married couple only without the legal marriage license or documents. There are other things as well but I can’t remember them. If one dies their partner can become executor/executrix of property, I think. Somehow they have the rights that a married couple has but used to could not draw their partners Social Security benefits.

      • Kathryn Jordan

        Thanks for the information. I had forgotten all about Common Law Marriage since I last took a law class four years ago.

  • Original Anna

    So if you are not married according to the State what is the point of even registering it and having to pay for the registration of nothing. Getting a driver’s license has more authority. It has your picture on it with an identification number and your address so you exist and the state has it recorded and you can use it to identify yourself. What does your name on a local list say, nothing. Of course in the middle ages the only record of you being born and married and died was in the Catholic Church’s records since the gov’ts couldn’t pay employees to record anything so the job was left to the churches.

  • Murphmeister

    Before 1634, when Massachusetts became the first colony to require marriage licenses, there were no marriage licenses issued by the government in the English speaking world. Only the Church of England issued licenses through bishops and those were rare ( see marriage of Shakespeare ). Marriages were almost always conducted after the bans of marriage were read in a local church and a marriage ceremony performed by the church. A certificate of marriage was issued and recorded in the parish. So, Alabama is essentially reverting to pre-1634 status.

    • Jackalyn Morrison

      Nope as for as I can remember we have always been that way or at least that was the way it has been for as long as I can remember until these immoral people tried to get it changed!!

  • Mikial

    Who marries whom should have never required a license and permission by the government. As long as the participants are of legal age and making a voluntary commitment, it’s not the state’s business.

  • Matt B

    As long as there is something official so lawyers can make money when the marriage fails. Lots of money

    • Denise Mccoy


  • WilliamHarrington

    Marriage is a term used to signify a legal act granting legal entrance to many contracts and acts. The meaning of marriage is a’a joining together’. it is not a religious act per-se.

    • Jackalyn Morrison

      Beg to differ

  • Yosemite Sam

    The institution of marriage between one man and one woman was established by God Almighty.

    In the beginning, after God created Adam [man], He [God] tasked Adam with naming all the other [God] created creatures. It was then that Adam realized there were no other creatures of his own kind. As a result, Jehovah placed Adam into a deep sleep, then removing a rib from Adam, He [God] formed [made] Eve [woman].

    Woman was not created [from nothing] as was man. On the contrary, Eve came directly out from Adam, to be of his counterpart [of his own kind].

    Man invented governments had better quickly learn to stop messing with the Laws of Mother Nature.

    • Jackalyn Morrison

      Amen and you are absolutely right !! God Bless you

  • ADRoberts

    Maybe if the government gets out of marriage, the Church can get back in. NO, that is right. The perverts will be demanding SOMETHING from the churches just to have a way to cost them money. IF you want to be offended, you can be. Jackson and Sharpton proved that.

  • CJ

    Leave it to the red-necks

  • chief1937

    Alabama has sure changed over the years and maybe not for the better either. Never thought they would elect a Democrat to represent them in congress but they did. Now I guess we will all see the consequences.

  • Ezra

    Is a merriage certificate a contract? Then the state has an interest in enforcing the contract.

  • Ezra

    I plan to marry my pet rock.

  • SA Ander

    A marriage licence is a required for a lot of legal reasons, people who need them are going to be jammed up because those blue hairs can’t figure out a*s from a whole in the ground.

  • Susan Wood

    The reason for a marriage license relates to spousal benefits. Would Alabama do away with spousal benefits? What about company policies re; surviving spouse – how would they administer these programs? IF spousal benefits are taken away, as the license is taken away – fine. BUT, don’t open the flood gates! Then, religions can work to put the sanctity back into “Marriage.”

  • ChuckW

    Good move. They should rightly limit the use of the word marriage to man and women, and use other unique terms for male/male unions and female/female unions. Government shouldn’t participate in debasement of language.